Thursday, 18 February 2010

'Giving up' v 'Taking up' for Lent

It is the custom, and not just in religious circles, to 'give up' something for Lent. Based on Jesus' 40 day fast in the wilderness there is undoubtedly something to be said for foregoing the physical in pursuit of the spiritual. However it can be frustrating and often leaves you feeling smug, if you've managed, or disheartened, if you haven't.

The CSMV nuns who ran St Mary's School in Pune encouraged us to 'take up' something for Lent instead. I remember sewing a romper suit for a child in their orphanage. It required time and effort on my part and made a material difference to someone's life. Besides which, positive actions are always more satisfying than negative ones.

In previous years I have followed, albeit sporadically, the Love Life Live Lent booklets produced by the Church of England, which encouraged readers to engage in a variety of random acts of kindness etc. I couldn't find any sign of these booklets this year so I turned to Christian Aid, who have an excellent project entitled Count Your Blessings. Every day you are given a statistic relating to world poverty followed by an appropriate action to take. For example, today I have learned that wasted food costs the average family £420 a year. I have then been asked to give 42p for each type of food I bin this week. By the time I reach Easter Sunday I shall not only be more aware of the plight of those less fortunate than myself, but I shall also have a jarful of coins to put towards making our world a better place for everyone.

Old habits die hard though, and I have also pledged to give up biscuits and cakes between meals.


  1. Hi Gai.

    I like the idea of taking UP something for Lent!

    You are right about food waste.

    (Although supermarkets waste much more than we do

    It sounds contradictory, but I find I waste less by shopping more often.

    It's so easy to buy too much in one go.

    So I try to shop a few times a week for fresh items, as and when when I need them.

    However I am lucky as I have several organic/ fresh food shops on my flight path.

    Do you?

    And...thanks for your congrats on standing for the Green Party in Bishopston!


  2. What a fantastic idea, most of us are still struggling with new year's resolutions, giving up yet something else does seem a bit much.

    The Christian Aid 'Count your blessings' seems very apt. I'll certainly be following that link.