Posted on February 14th, 2018

Lent begins

Lent -- it sounds like the fuzz that gathers in your pockets -- but it is instead an important time in our life of faith

“Lent” is a term that loosely means “spring” or spring “season,” though the history of the word is a little murky. 

The word refers to the forty days immediately prior to Easter Day, excluding Sundays.  Because Easter is a moveable feast (Are you ready for this?  Easter occurs on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox.  So, Easter can occur anywhere between March 22 and April 25, inclusive.) So, the beginning of Lent ranges from February 4 (which can only occur when a multitude of occurrences coincide) to March 10.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.  The day receives its title from the ancient Christian practice of retaining the palm branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration, burning the branches and applying the ashes to the foreheads of worshippers during a worship service on that day.  The imposition of ashes is a sign of penitence that has its roots deep in the Old Testament.

Lent is a season of self-denial, penitence and introspection.  It therefore does not include Sundays.  The First Day of the week is the day on which Christ was raised, and so it has always been interpreted as being an inappropriate time for fasting.

Lent is a season of self-denial, giving rise to the phrase, “Giving up something for Lent.”  It is a time of prayer, discernment and spiritual discipline.  It is a misinterpretation to think of Lent as merely “getting ready for Easter.”  It is a time with its own significance and its own deep meaning. 

It was during Lent that the early church gave its final instructions to those training to become church members – the catechumenate.  It is the season in which those who had become separated from the church completed the process by which they were reinstated.  So, it is a time for all believers to reflect on their relationship to Christ and His church.

At The Wesley Foundation we are embracing this time as an opportunity for our participants to deepen our faith.  We pray that your faith is renewed as well.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

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