Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday & Lent

Do Unitarians need Lent? The short answer would be a somewhat obvious "no". We don't need it. But, maybe we do. While I don't believe the Jesus died on a cross for our sins and was resurrected miracle, I do think there is something to be said for setting aside time to really reflect on your spirituality and the life you are living. Many religions have some form of this. For instance, Ramadan for Muslims and Aseret Yemei Teshuva for Jews. While these observances usually call for abstaining from certain foods or fasting and atonement, they are really trying to help the followerer come to a greater understanding of their God. It is a time for intense discipline within their faith. Many UUs balk at the idea of being forced to study their religion (if they are even comfortable calling UU a religion). Aren't we in it for the freedom of thought and ability to worship as we feel? Of course we are, but there is something to be said for taking the time to really work on your belief system. Take the time to really look inside yourself and figure out what is important to you? your family? What values do you hold dear? Where do you see yourself in this great universe? Have you ever taken then time to really ponder if you believe in a God? a Spirit? a life Force? Can you comfortably convey that to others? Can you explain it to your children?

Maybe these questions are too hard or too easy, but not enough of us take the time to really evaluate where we are on our journey. I would challenge each of you to take these next forty days to develop your own faith statements and start spring with a renewed Spirit!


Rebecca Hecking said...

Hi plaidshoes, I think the idea of lent is a good one, but it has lots of baggage for many people. Given the fact that UUs are genetically programmed to resist being told to do anything, I think it's perhaps best if each of us keeps a personal period of lent whenever we choose.

You know... you've done it again. I was planning to start on my own blog entry right after I commented here, and you've given me a terrific idea for a post. THANKS!! (you really have a way of doing this, you know...)

Thoughts are too long to post here. Drop by my blog later today and see what you inspired. :-)

jennytuck said...

I just found your blog by Googling "Unitarian Universalist Lent" in preparation to write about the topic tomorrow on my UU young adult ministry blog (for people under 40.)

This is a fantatic post---I agree that we'd benefit from a period of "intense discipline" in our faith---and I'm wondering: would you mind if I link to it?

Thanks so much and many blessings!


plaidshoes said...

Rebecca - I can totally understand your idea of lent (& peoples baggage with it), but I really like the idea of coming together as a religion and everyone focusing their energy at the same time. There is a sense of unity you get. But, knowing UUs, I kind of doubt this will ever happen! I will definitely check out what your write!

Jenny - Thank you for the very kind words! Of course you may link to it. Being under 40 myself, I have a special affinity towards young adult ministry - but that will be a topic for another day!

jennytuck said...

Plaidshoes---thank you so much! I really appreciate it.

On the YA ministry blog: it's affiliated with the Ballou Channing District (I'm their YA ministry consultant) but I'm hoping its readership will (eventually) extend to every district in the UUA. Please feel free to visit and comment any time! (I've added your blog to my reader and will be checking in often!)