This week marks the beginning of Lent. As a Baptist I wouldn’t usually even know but one of my brother Chaplains (you guessed it, a Roman Catholic one) sent me this to remind me:
Once a Baptist always think like a Baptist
John Smith was the only Protestant to move into a large Catholic neighbourhood. On the first Friday of Lent, John was outside grilling a big juicy steak on his grill. Meanwhile, all of his neighbours were eating cold tuna fish for supper. This went on each Friday of Lent. On the last Friday of Lent, the neighbourhood men got together and decided that something had to be done about John, he was tempting them to eat meat each Friday of Lent, and they couldn’t take it anymore. They decided to try and convert John to be a Catholic. They went over and talked to him and were so happy that he decided to join all of his niehgbours and become a Catholic. They took him to Church, and the Priest sprinkled some water over him, and said “You were born a Baptist, you were raised a Baptist, and now you are a Catholic”.
The men were so relieved, now their biggest Lenten temptation was resolved. The next year’s Lenten season rolled around. The first Friday of Lent came, and just at supper time, when the neighbourhood was setting down to their tuna fish dinner, came the wafting smell of steak cooking on a grill. The neighbourhood men could not believe their noses! WHAT WAS GOING ON? They called each other up and decided to meet over in John’s yard to see if he had forgotten it was the first Friday of Lent? The group arrived just in time to see John standing over his grill with a small pitcher of water. He was sprinkling some water over his steak on the grill, saying, “You were born a cow, you were raised a cow, and now you are a fish.”
Yes, it is a great story, but it reminds us of a deep truth. We are not changed by external things that are done to us or folowing an outward ritual. Real change must come from deep within, a miracle that God does in our hearts which will show itself not in what we eat but in how we live and relate to the world around us. Lent is an oppportunity to rethink, to seriously reflect on who we are and where we are going so that we may be able to hear what God might be trying to say, no matter what your denominational label!
Chaplain Ian S Whitley