The season of Lent is almost upon us. We know this season in the church to be the days leading up to Easter, but it’s much more than that. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. On this night, we gather to remember our own sin and mortality. While it’s the least upbeat service of the year, it’s important for us to take time to remember we are sinful and in need of repentance, and that Jesus’ sacrificial death set us free from the wages of sin and death. This night begins our 40-day Lenten journey (technically 46 days, but we don’t count Sundays). Christians use this time to focus on spiritual disciplines that will help us reflect on Christ’s sacrifice, death, burial, and resurrection. We do this through repentance and sometimes fasting, moderation, or self-denial.
You may be asking yourself, don’t we do all this at Easter? We celebrate at Easter that the tomb is empty and Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Yes, that’s exactly what we do at Easter, but Christ-followers have long felt a call to prepare for the very special celebration of Easter. The joy is usually sweeter when we acknowledge, and not quickly pass by, the sorrow that accompanies it. In the early church, baptismal candidates would spend 40 days fasting and preparing for their baptism on Easter Sunday. We now use this same 40 day period to fully prepare ourselves for the celebration of Christ’s sacrifice and grace.
During our Lenten season, I’d like to take a closer look at each of the events during Holy Week. We’ll spend each Sunday reflecting and lingering in these events longer than usual in hopes that they become more alive and meaningful for each of us. There are some special events planned along the way we plan to emerge ourselves in the Passion of Jesus for a meaningful season of Lent.
Plan to start Ash Wednesday!
Peace and Grace,