God is with us in Word and Sacrament

What are you giving up?

The tradition of giving something up for Lent has deep historical roots within the Christian faith. Dating back centuries, Lent has been observed as a period of reflection, repentance, and preparation leading up to Easter. The practice of self-denial during this season is linked to the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. Early Christians embraced the idea of sacrificing worldly comforts as a way to identify with Christ’s journey and demonstrate spiritual discipline. Over time, the concept evolved, with believers choosing to relinquish specific indulgences or habits. This act of self-sacrifice is intended not only to foster personal growth but also to create a tangible connection to the sacrificial nature of Jesus’ crucifixion. The items or habits given up vary widely, reflecting individual aspirations for spiritual renewal and a deeper connection to the faith.

While this tradition, which helps us embody a meaningful and intentional approach to observing Lent, continues to this day, let’s consider this. Giving something up was never the whole goal. The goal was to take something on to put in the place of what you have given up. As you consider what you’re giving up, here are a few ideas of what you can take up for your Lenten journey to the cross and empty tomb. Just as our Lord said, “Take up your cross, and follow me” (Matt 16:24–26).

  • Attend the Lenten Midweek services
  • Attend the morning Matins services
  • Attend Bible Class on Sunday morning
  • Attend Individual Confession & Absolution
  • Set a place and a time for Family Devotions (ask Pastor for ideas)
  • Set one night a week that you’re going to have a family dinner together
  • Pray before your meals
  • Pray for the people who sit near you in church
  • Sing the hymns during church
  • Commit to learn-by-heart a hymn this year
  • Commit to learn-by-heart a psalm this year
  • Commit to learn-by-heart (or relearn-by-heart) Martin Luther’s Small Catechism
  • Read a chapter of the Bible everyday
  • Read a Proverb a day for a month
  • Commit to reducing media consumption and replace it with reading a Psalm
  • Commit to writing a 1–2 sentence summary of your Bible reading for a month
  • Invite a member(s) of the congregation over to your house for dinner or coffee
  • Write down what you are thankful for each day for a month and pray in thanksgiving to God
  • Read the Martin Luther’s Large Catechism
  • Read The Augsburg Confession
  • Write a note of encouragement for a member of the congregation



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