What is Lent?
“For some Christians, Lent has always been a part of their spiritual life, but for others it is unfamiliar. Lent is a season leading up to Easter, a time when Christians have historically prepared their hearts for Easter with reflection, repentance, and prayer. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and proceeds for forty days, excluding Sundays, and culminating with Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Since Sundays are weekly celebrations of the resurrection of Jesus, the six Sundays in Lent are not counted as part of the forty-day season, which focuses on introspection, self examination, and repentance. Many Christians choose to celebrate a fast throughout the season of Lent, but the focus is not on depriving themselves of something as much as it is on devoting themselves to God and his purposes in the world.
Lent is an important season of the church year. The church year is an excellent way to help focus our attention on God with the way we organize our time. Rather than following the solar calendar’s more familiar structure, organized by the rhythms of nature, the church calendar is organized around God and his activity in the world. The church calendar follows six seasons of varying length: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. Each of these seasons have different focuses…Lent focuses on human sin and God’s gracious solution. Easter focuses on resurrection life. The annual rhythm of these seasons can have a powerful effect on personal and communal spiritual growth.” – from Holy Bible: Mosaic
As you consider how you may want to observe this season, here are some suggested resources.
(Books will also be available for purchase on Sunday mornings on the ladder shelf.)
Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter – A collection of reflections for Lent from well-loved spiritual writers (e.g. Augustine, Beuchner, Lewis, Merton, Norris, Nouwen, Yancey).
Pauses for Lent: 40 Words for 40 Days – by Trevor Hudson
A Way other than Our Own: Devotions for Lent – by Walter Brueggemann
Creation Care as a Hopeful Spiritual Practice for Lent (Bethany Presbyterian Church) – Weekly devotional including Scripture, prayers, and activities for families/children.
The Lent Project (Biola University) – Daily reflection, art and music.
Pray As You Go – Daily prayer, scripture, reflection questions – for all seasons of the Church calendar. Also available online