Alice and I recently spent our entire weekend doing a deep cleaning of our home. This intense spring-cleaning included, reorganizing all of our drawers, closets and cabinets while also re-organizing our garage and shed. As you can imagine, this was a grueling ordeal. However, because of the busyness of our lives, we knew that there were some things that needed to be reorganized in our home. That’s kind of what Lent is, it’s a spring-cleaning… but for the soul. It’s a season of the Christian year, where we focus on getting our souls in order.
What is Lent? The word Lent, comes from the old English wordLenten which means Spring. It is the forty days before Easter where we prepare our hearts and souls for the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It is a time of prayer, reflection and fasting.
When does Lent begin/end? Lent begins, this year on Wednesday, March 1st (Ash Wednesday) and concludes on Sunday, April 13th (Easter).
Why do we observe Lent? You will notice that the word Lent is not in the bible, nor is there a biblical command that we must participate in Lent. Therefore, it would be easy to conclude that we don’t have to participate in Lent. That would be correct! However, here are a few reasons why The Well Church Keller chooses to observe Lent…
Lent POINTS us back to Jesus.
Lent reminds us of our desperate need for a Jesus.
Lent is a time of fasting. We fast in order to put our stomach where our souls should be.
Lent invites us to reflect on our sinful nature, and our need for forgiveness.
How can we observe Lent? There are many different ways to observe Lent..
Read Lent Books/ Devotionals
Listen to Lenten Music
Fasting and Prayer.
What is Ash Wednesday? Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras, usually begins with a service where we recognize our mortality, repent of our sins, and return to our loving God. We recognize life as a precious gift from God, and re-turn our lives towards Jesus Christ. We may make resolutions and commit to change our lives over the next forty days so that we might be more like Christ. In an Ash Wednesday service, usually a minister or priest marks the sign of the cross on a person's forehead with ashes.
Why Ashes? In Jewish and Christian history, ashes are a sign of mortality and repentance. Mortality, because when we die, our bodies eventually decompose and we become dust/dirt/ash/whatever. Repentance, because long ago, when people felt remorse for something they did, they would put ashes on their head and wear "sackcloth" (scratchy clothing) to remind them that sin is pretty uncomfortable and leads to a sort of death of the spirit. This was their way of confessing their sins and asking for forgiveness.
Why should I fast? At Jesus' baptism the sky split open, the Spirit of God, which looked like a dove, descended and landed on Jesus, and a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, My Beloved, with whom I am pleased." Afterward, as told in Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus was sent into the wilderness by the Spirit. Where he fasted and prayed for 40 days. During his time there he was tempted by Satan and found clarity and strength to resist temptation. Afterwards, he was ready to begin his ministry.
Also, please consider joining us for our Ash Wednesday service, on Wednesday, March 1st, 7:00pm at Christ’s Haven Gymnasium.
Blessings to you and yours this Season,