Friday, January 6, 2017

The Good of Giving Up by Aaron Damiani

Even though we're not yet in the Lenten season (it starts 1st March for 2017), I thought it would be a good idea to read this. The Good of Giving Up is a book on what Lent is, why one should practice it, how to practice it, as well as how you can lead others in Lent.

The author is Anglican, but the precepts are applicable to all denominations, even if the applications may differ from Church to Church. Since I'm Methodist, I do know what Lent is. My Church celebrates Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We also encourage each other to do a partial fast, but I don't recall having an in-depth lesson on the meaning of Lent and it's relation to the Church.

If I were to summarise part 1, the explanation of Lent and why we should practice it, it would go like this: Lent is a way for us to prepare ourselves for the feasting and rejoicing of Easter: as the book puts it:
We are so full on the junk food of our culture that we cannot metabolise the feast on our Easter plates.
When we learn to focus our attention on our Heavenly Father and not on the issues of this world, the meaning of Easter becomes stronger. The author paraphrases Lord of the Rings when he says that on Easter:
[E]verything sad was coming untrue. Death itself had been turned on itself. Satan and his demons had run into the mousetrap of the cross, forfeiting their treats. And our Hero was making good on all His promises, sending His Spirit to renew the face of the earth, giving gifts as He ascended to His rightful throne.
Part 2 is on how we can practice Lent. Lent is practiced through fasting, prayer and generosity (also almsgiving). The fast can be a partial or a whole fast, and there is concrete advice for the prayer and almsgiving sessions as well.

The last part, part 3, is for pastors, parents and Church leaders, and deals with how one can lead others through Lent.

I am really thankful that I read this book. I've never really practiced Lent (apart from celebrating the different days), and I realise that this is leading me further away from God. The purpose of Lent isn't to be good only for that 40 days (as the book says, we can make every Friday a 'little Lent' and every Sunday a 'little Easter'), but to help us reorientate ourselves towards God, which carries over to the next year.

I suppose it's good that I read this way before the Lenten season. It will give me time to digest all the information here and prepare myself to practice Lent next year.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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