What is Lent?
Dear Spring Runners,
Have you ever wondered what Lent is? Or Ash Wednesday or why some people deny themselves of certain things for 40 days before Easter? Lent is the season of 40 days leading up to the celebration of the passion and the resurrection of Christ.
“The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom to prepare for them by a season of penitence1 and fasting…The whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith. The congregation is invited to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, they are encouraged to kneel before the Lord, their maker and Redeemer” (adapted from the Book of Common Prayer).
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Some churches will have a special service where the minister will place some “ash” on the forehead of the believer to signify our mortality and penitence and to remember that it is only by the gracious gift of God that we are given everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Savior.
While our church will not have a special service on Ash Wednesday I would like to encourage you to take the next 40 days to meditate on the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection. As believers in Christ, we know and believe that without Christ’s death and resurrection there is no forgiveness of sins. Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection were pinnacle events in human history and salvation.
Colossians 1:13-14 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Hebrews 9:22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Take some time the next 40 days to:
• Spend time in self-examination; confessing your sins and your need for Christ.
• Repent of your sins, turning away from them and toward Christ.
• Deny yourself of something or make a special commitment these 40 days to remind you daily of your commitment to Christ and to remember His sacrifice for you. (Our family has committed to spending 15 minutes a day in devotions. Some cried that they did not have time, but that is the point, we have to give up something else we like to do, i.e. computer, games, internet, etc. to find time for devotion). Remember, we do not deny ourselves something in order to gain favor with God, this is not a work that is “added” to Christ’s work on the cross, this is simply a special time to meditate on Christ’s all satisfying, all sufficient death and to worship Him for His sacrifice.
• Subscribe to Kevin Green’s Lent blog. Kevin is a fellow pastor at West End Pres.
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.( from the Book of Common Prayer).
1penitent simply means deep remorse and sorrow for sin; repentant.
All for Jesus,