Posted by: pastordarren | March 30, 2011

Why Lent?

I have had several conversations over the last couple of weeks dealing with the reasoning behind Lent? From people in my congregation asking about different aspects of Lent, from the number of days (40 not including Sundays), why does it not include Sundays (day of celebration), reasoning behind the ashes and where they come from (sign of sorrow and repentance that come from burning the palms from last year’s Palm Sunday), etc.; to a conversation with a Christian book store owner as to what Lent is all about (although they sold a lot of Lenten material).

I could write a lot about the history of the season of Lent within the church and talk about the different rules / guidelines / practices that have been focused on throughout the years, but I wanted to give people a very simple yet accurate definition of the what and why of Lent.  Here’s what I have:

Lent is the season preceding Easter that begins with Ash Wednesday.  It is a season of preparing our hearts and lives for Easter (as Advent is a season of preparing for Christmas) that helps people to focus on their relationship with God through Jesus and Jesus’ suffering on the Cross.  It is a time of prayer, meditation, and sacrifice that not only helps us to see what is in our lives that is not right, but also helps us to deepen our relationship with Jesus and our faith.

Many people will ‘give up’ something for Lent with the idea that their life will be better (sugar, caffeine, technology, music, etc).  Some will even pick up something (exercise, healthy eating, scripture reading, prayer, more sleep) with the same idea.  Whatever your choice, whether on an individual level or with a group or whole church, the idea is not to focus on having a better life, but to draw closer to God and deeper in faith.

In the words of Psalms 139:23-24 – Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

May this Lenten season be a time where we are searched by God and shown those things that are not right then be led in the way God calls us to go.

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