Lent is one of the oldest observations on the Christian calendar. Like all Christian holy days and holidays, it has changed over the years, but its purpose has always been the same. The word Lent is an old Saxon one meaning “spring,” and I have not found it in the Bible. However, the path of Lent—prayer, fasting, and generosity over a period of time—is heavily emphasized by the writers and characters in the Bible, including Jesus. I think the Bible asks for a lifestyle of worship and devotion that looks like Lent. So, while the word may be absent in the Bible, the idea and practicing of Lent is woven throughout the whole of Scripture.
The Bible is filled with specific times set aside for devotion to God, including ones that last 40 days. Moses fasted for 40 days when he met with the Lord on Mount Sinai (Ex. 34:28), Elijah fasted for 40 days on his journey to meet God at Horeb (1 Kings 19:8), and, of course, Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert to prepare for his public ministry (Matt. 4:1–11). So, the practices of Lent - prayer, fasting, and almsgiving - are indeed biblical and Christ-centred
I ask myself, “Why should I give up something for 40 days that I wouldn’t for the rest of the year? » »If this path is good for Christians, why not make it all year round? »
In Lent, we learn to confess our sins, practice self-denial, and take on the humility of Christ. In Easter, we learn to rejoice, exult, and feast in Christ’s victory. All Christians are welcome to put in practice what they learned in Lent at any time. Setting time aside for certain practices allows us to focus more intently on God and to develop more « Christian » habits, like love Jesus Christ, cherish his gospel, and live under the teachings of the Bible. It’s a season of spiritual devotion with roots in Jewish worship, the teachings of Jesus, and the practices of the apostles and early church. This season of repentance is a gift to all Christians, and good medicine. It might be tough to swallow; like taking Buckley’s cough syrup, it might not taste pleasant but it might make you feel better.
Address your fears, tears, jeers and acknowledge cheers!! Alléluia
LENT begins this year on February 14th, Ash Wednesday. As usual, there will be casual worship in the church basement at 6PM, with ashes made from last year's Palms. All are welcome.