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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Echo

Diverse practices, perspectives shape approaches to Lenten season

Taylor’s community prepares for Easter

Lent is the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter in which many Christians sacrifice something for those 40 days. 

This sacrifice commemorates the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert and endured temptation from Satan.

Within Taylor’s campus, many students partake in sacrificing something in observation with the Lenten season. Each student has their narrative regarding Lent, whether it involves abstaining from particular food groups like sweets or limiting habits such as screen time.

Senior Joe Markelon grew up with and still practices his Catholic faith. He remembers early on he and his family would not eat meat on Fridays during Lent, which is one of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) rules of Lent.

As Markelon grew up and developed his faith, Lent became increasingly important to him, more than just something his family did.

“I just really like the idea of Lent, because it kind of goes back to this idea of self-control, which I think is pretty a crucial part of what Jesus talked about,” Markelon said.

During this season of Lent, he is working on lowering his screen time. He has attempted this by trying to not use his phone when he wakes up or at night before he goes to bed. As a result, he is more refreshed in the mornings and has time to read his Bible more.

“I just started trying to read the Bible every day; it was one of the things I wanted to do,” Markelon said. “I think limiting my screen time at night has allowed me more time to read.”

While Markelon grew up practicing Lent, freshman Josh Benson only grew up hearing about it.

Benson has taken a different approach to Lent; instead of giving up a certain food or activity, he and some friends have given up all food options on campus that are not from The Zone in Hodson Dining Commons, which is allergy-free.

The reason for doing this was based on not only eating healthier but also having a perspective change, as Benson has a friend with many allergies, making The Zone the only place he can eat.

“Putting myself in their shoes has been beneficial, but also just as a practice in facing temptation and then not being able to give into that temptation has been helpful," Benson said.

Sophomore Abi Chen approaches Lent differently than most do. Growing up in China and spending time in the Philippines, she had never heard of the practice until her first year at Taylor.

“Where I grew up, somehow it was just never introduced, and I didn't know it was a thing until I came to college in the States,” Chen said.

Chen's decision to participate in Lent started this year when her roommate introduced her to the season’s significance.

Chen decided to give up sweets this Lent, a practice she described as both emotionally and mentally challenging.

“I lost that source of immediate comfort that I normally go to. So, it's been hard,” Chen said.

While it has not been easy for Chen, she has realized that the process of abstaining can impact other areas of her faith as well.

She quoted Hebrews 12: 2, which reminds its readers to continually be “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” 

Since Jesus endured the pain of the cross and still recognized the joy in front of Him, Chen understood that while she may not always be feeling joy she can still see the joy in front of her.

Lent means a lot to students at Taylor, although each student approaches it differently. With a diverse community comes diverse perspectives.