An old Polish custom can remind us to bury the idols in our lives, so that we may fully embrace life with Christ.
Lent is traditionally a time of the year for spiritual renewal, and an old Polish custom can remind us of this simple reality.
According to Herbert Thurston in his 1904 book Lent and Holy Week, traditionally the middle of Lent was devoted to an old custom of “burying” pagan idols.
Throughout all the middle ages the custom seems to have prevailed of representing this battle [of Spring over Winter] on Mid-Lent Sunday by some mimic contest which most frequently took the shape of belaboring a hideous effigy of Winter with sticks and stones and finally of hurling it into the water. With this also seems to have been associated in other places a vague recollection of the overthrow of paganism in Poland, AD 965, when the Catholic Duke Miecislaus destroyed the pagan idols and threw them into the river on Laetare Sunday.
This narration of events appears to be from Jan Dlugosz’ history of Poland, where he explains how the drowning of an idol continues to take place in certain parts of Poland on the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
While most of us do not openly worship pagan gods, all of us have our own “idols” in our lives.
Those idols could be the computer, TV, or our smart phone. It could also be our sinful habits, such as pornography, gossip, or excessive drinking.
If we haven’t already “drowned” the idols in our lives that control us, now is the time to bury whatever is keeping us from God.
The key is that these modern-day idols do not have a hold on us and we are not their slaves. In order to fully embrace Jesus Christ, we must be free from everything in our lives, willing to do whatever it takes to be closer to God.