Lent: Give Up or Take Up?

For This Season of Lent

I was reading my church newsletter for March and I came upon Pastor Crowe’s article, “What are you doing for Lent?” In which, he discusses whether or not Lutherans give up something for Lent. During this season, other churches may give up things like meat or even chocolate, however, the LCMS position on this is quite different. Pastor Crowe goes on to encourage us to take up something for Lent to help us remember and personalize the great sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for us.

This in turn lead me to consider taking up the focus on Lenten hymns during this season. Therefore, it is my aim to focus on one Lenten hymn each week during these 40 days and what better hymn than the one we sang for Ash Wednesday service, titled O Lord, Throughout These Forty Days. The lyrics are as follows:

  1. O Lord, throughout theses forty days

You prayed and kept fast;

Inspire repentance for our sins,

And free form our past.

 2. You Strove with Satan, and you won;

Your faithfulness endured:

Lend us Your nerve, Your skill and trust

In God’s eternal Word.

  1. Though parched and hungry, yet You prayed

And fixed Your mind above;

So teach us to deny ourselves,

Since we have known God’s Love.

  1. Be with us through this season, Lord

And all our earthly days,

That when the final Easter dawns,

We join in heaven’s praise.

In conclusion, there is a link to a You tube video of this beautiful hymn. I found it quite appropriate as the season of Lent begins. In it, I see the reason one might give something up in order to deny one’s self. Yet, I still like the idea of taking something up. What will you take up this season?

The Lutheran Perspective

QUESTION: Do Lutherans have to give up something for Lent as some other denominations require?

ANSWER: From the perspective of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, “giving something up for Lent” is entirely a matter of Christian freedom. It would be wrong, from our perspective, for the church to make some sort of “law” requiring its members to “give something up for Lent,” since the Scriptures themselves do not require this.

If, on the other hand, a Christian wants to give something up for Lent as a way of remembering and personalizing the great sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for our sins, then that Christian is certainly free to do so — as long as he or she does not “judge” or “look down on” other Christians who do not choose to do this. (This is taken from the lcms.org web page.)

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6 Comments

  1. What a beautiful hymn! I’m not Catholic or Lutheran, but I think that any kind of fasting can be a good way for a Christian to connect with God if our hearts are in the right place. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’m not trying to stir anything up… But I’ve always wondered if forced ‘giving up’ is an expression of gratitude or an expression of obedience? Both are good things to be expressed but I think it’s important to know which you’re doing.

    Does that even make sense? LOL…

    1. Yes, you make sense. It can be seen both ways. I think it all comes down to the condition of one’s heart and motivation. Thank you for your comment.

  3. Something to consider – give up or take up – but it all goes to reminding us of Christ’s great sacrifice. This will be a good conversation with my hubby tonight over dinner!

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