Ten Things To Know About Lent
1. Lent and Easter worship the death and resurrection of Christ, making this season one of the most important in the church calendar, along with Christmas.
2. Lent is the 40 days preceding Easter (excluding Sundays, see #9). It’s a season for reflection, repentance, and renewal, observed through fasting, praying, and giving.
3. The term “Lent” comes from an Old English word for “spring,” which was introduced in the late Middle Ages to help introduce the practice to a larger, non-Latin-speaking audience.
4. Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday (April 13th this year) and includes Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper and Jesus’s washing his disciples’ feet (“maundy,” from Latin “mandatum”). Good Friday observes Jesus’s death on the cross.
5. So if Jesus died that day, why is it called Good Friday? Without the crucifixion, there can be no resurrection – no triumph over death, no redemption for us, no payment for our sins. Terrible and brutal as Jesus’s death was, it showed God’s great love for us in that He would sacrifice His own Son to give us new life and new relationship with Him.
6. Lent has been observed since the 3rd century!
7. Fasting is more than just giving something up. Sacrifice alone doesn’t help us grow. Fasting asks us to “detach” ourselves from the physical world and “attach” ourselves to Christ through prayer and sacrificial giving. If you’ve never fasted for Lent before, don’t worry about plunging off the deep end! During Lent, we’ll be inviting you to participate in guided Friday fasts. Each Wednesday, we’ll inform you what to fast from on Friday (social media, sugars, etc.) and suggest devotionals or readings to turn to instead of the earthly substance you’re fasting from. This is a good starting point for those unfamiliar with Lent or fasting!
8. The Lenten period of 40 days has lots of biblical significance. It reflects the 40 years the Israelites spent in the desert, the 40 days Moses spent on Mt. Sinai (twice), Jesus’s 40 days of temptation, and the 40 days between his resurrection and his ascension to heaven.
9. Why not Sundays? Sundays during Lent are observed as “mini Easters,” or weekly anniversaries of the resurrection. This means they are spent worshipping with a spirit of celebration, not repentance or sacrifice. They don’t count towards the 40 days of Lent.
10. The Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday (March 5th this year). Ashes are applied to the forehead as a symbol that “we were made from dust, and to dust [we] will return” (Gen. 3:19) and we have a deep need to repent and turn humbly to God for forgiveness. Join us for our Ash Wednesday service 7pm for personal reflection, worship, prayer, and communion.