Stoking the Fire of God’s Spirit Within You
What is Lent?
Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which traditionally begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on the Saturday before Easter Sunday.
Our English word “Lent” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for “lengthen” and refers to the lengthening days of spring. Lent is a season of preparation for the celebration of Easter. Lent is to Easter what Advent is to Christmas. Lent is a time to focus on the hope of Jesus Christ through his death on the Cross and his Resurrection.
Originally, Lent was a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by converts to Christianity. Over time, Lent evolved into a time of spiritual reflection, repentance, self-denial by Christians. Nowadays, many Christians (both Catholic and Protestant) prepare for the celebration of Easter through Scripture reading, prayer, and through acts of fasting, self-sacrifice (giving something up), and giving to those in need. Ultimately, Lent is not about what we do; these activities are meant to focus ourselves on what Jesus did.
Because Sundays are always “little Easters,” the penitential and self-denying spirt of Lent is tempered each Sunday with joyful expectation of the Resurrection!
As we Journey with Jesus through Lent this year, we encourage you to do three things to heighten your experience of Christ’s transforming power in and through your life:
- Read a selected passage from the Gospel of John to tune your heart to discern Jesus’ presence and activity in and around you. (See the Lenten Daily Reading Plan on the church website.)
- Pray daily for two things:
- Ask God to search your heart and reveal any attitude or action in your life from which you need to repent (turn)
- Ask God to draw one or more unbelieving friends who don’t know Christ personally into a real relationship with Jesus. Ask God to open doors for you to love, serve, and share the truth of Easter with them.
- Fast from eating, a convenience, or pleasurable activity 1 day each week to heighten your attention toward, and deepen your love and devotion for, Christ and to aid you in praying for your unbelieving friend(s). (If fasting is new to you, see the Fasting Guide on the church website.)