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Getting Ready for Lent

Today is Shrove Tuesday, which calls for a celebratory pancake or two, but that means that tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and then we are into the season of Lent. Time to give up chocolate?

Truth be told, I gave up giving up chocolate for Lent a long time ago but I do like to mark the season from Ash Wednesday to Easter by doing something different. In recent years, this has mainly been in the form of giving up late nights (lights out by 10:30pm with one exception allowed per week has been my self-imposed rule). However, I feel it is time to try something different this year and so I am taking up New Testament Greek!

I last worked on this when I was a student (in my spare time rather than as part of my history course). The main thing that has stuck with me from that is the alphabet; I can read written Greek out loud, although not fluently, and recognise a certain number of key words, such as agape (self-giving love). What I can’t do is read for meaning and understanding, spotting details like the tense of a verb or the style of a particular writer. Even if I had forty days of uninterrupted study time, I’m not sure I would reach that height but this Lenten devotion should be enough to take one or two steps forward.

What about you? Chocolate or something else?


  1. I’ve pretty much run out of things to give up on the food and drink front. For several years I gave up TV (cold turkey – pulled the power plug out of the socket on Ash Wednesday) and found that to be quite a constructive exercise in terms of both self-awareness and self-discipline.

    The idea of taking something up is an interesting one – perhaps by using the time saved from giving up something else – an opportunity to reorient and refocus – very much within the spirit of Lent.

  2. I’ve dusted off my Greek or Hebrew (or sometimes both) for Lent several times over the past few years. Both could stand to be improved a lot (especially my Hebrew, which has never progressed significantly further than the read-haltingly-and-recognise-a-few-key-words stage), so maybe I’ll do that again this year. It’s probably better to stick with one, so I’ll probably concentrate mostly on Greek (as I’m already much closer to being able to do useful things with that – albeit still far from fluent).