Sunday, March 15, 2009

Season of change

From today's Boston Sunday Globe:

By Scott Helman Globe Staff / March 15, 2009

Road rage. Facebook. Chocolate. Negativity. Hamburgers. Paper cups. The clothes dryer. The list of sacrifices local Christians are making to mark Lent this year is as varied as the denominations they belong to. But the underlying objectives are the same: cultivating one's relationship with God; whittling away luxury to focus on necessity; reexamining the pace of life; and preparing for the celebration of Jesus' resurrection.

"During the time of Lent, I'm just thinking about being closer to God - trying to live my life closer to God," said Tyiesha Thompson, a 34-year-old from South Boston who attends Fourth Presbyterian Church near Andrew Square.

Christian denominations differ on the practices of Lent. Some Protestants bristle at what they consider the strict rules of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, and have developed their own modern observances. Some Catholics and Orthodox Christians believe in adhering to prescribed fasting and prayer rituals.

"The rule is given, and you follow the rule. It's a discipline," said the Rev. Nicholas K. Apostola, the pastor of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Shrewsbury.

But whatever their practice during these six weeks, worshipers find deep meaning in the period of fasting, prayer, and reflection leading up to Easter.

Joyce Harvey, a 59-year-old member of St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church in Roxbury, is giving up the chocolates, jelly beans, and marshmallow bunnies that she loves, but she is trying to combine that sacrifice with good deeds.

"I would like to try and do some more visiting of the sick and visiting some of the people I know that are in rehab," she said. "Lent should be both . . . a giving up and a doing more."

© Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.


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