A Guide to Lent 2014
Lent is the 6 week period leading up to Easter Sunday. It begins on Ash Wednesday. The Church has historically set aside this period of time to prepare ourselves to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.
THIS YEAR, LENT RUNS FROM WEDNESDAY, March 5 – SUNDAY, April 20.
WHO OBSERVES LENT?
Though Lent is most famously observed by Catholics, Christians all over the world and in may denominations participate. We have records of Christians observing Lent going back very early in Church history. Lent is a practice that can unite Christians across denominational lines, reminding us that we are all rescued from Death by one God and one Resurrection.
WHY OBSERVE LENT?
Easter has a tendency to sneak up on us. But we want our celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus to be intentional, to last longer than an hour one Sunday morning a year.
LENT HELPS US TAKE JESUS’ DEATH MORE SERIOUSLY, AND CELEBRATE HIS RESURRECTION MORE FULLY.
By taking 40 days to examine ourselves, to take seriously the sin in our lives, we become more aware of our need for rescue. Of our inability to save ourselves. So when we come to celebrate the Resurrection, we have a renewed appreciation for our salvation and what it means to live in the freedom Jesus brought us.
THIS YEAR AT OUR CHURCH
HOW DO WE OBSERVE LENT?
1. Ash Wednesday
Lent begins with a worship gathering on Ash Wednesday. Christians take communion together and receive ashes on our foreheads as a mark of repentance and humility. We begin our season of serious reflection on our sin and its consequences: Death.
OUR ASH WEDNESDAY GATHERINGS ARE AT 6:30 AM AND 6:30 PM. COME WORSHIP WITH US!
2. The Lenten Fast
The most common central Lenten practice is the Lenten Fast. There are 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Resurrection Sunday, not counting the Sundays. Christians fast during those 40 days in imitation of Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11).
THE FAST REMINDS US THAT WE CANNOT RESCUE OURSELVES, THAT OUR SALVATION COMES ONLY FROM JESUS.
Traditionally, Christians have given up meat, or meat and dairy for the six weeks of Lent. Along with the fast, many Christians follow a daily time of prayer and Scripture reading. Sundays are not part of the fast; we call them mini-Easters, and they are a feast day!
Today, Christians fast from any number of things from the more traditional meat and dairy to desserts or social media. The purpose of the fast is to give up something dear to you, so that its absence reminds you of your total dependence on God.
3. Lenten Devotionals
In addition to fasting during Lent, you can join me in a daily Lenten devotional. Sign up here to have scripture, prayer and a daily practice sent to your inbox every morning. The devotional will follow the American Gods series, and I’ve invited a few friends to help out, so you’ll hear from them too.
We’ll use the hashtag #LentIdols to share our experiences on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram together.
4. LENT MUSIC!
If you haven’t heard of the very excellent Page CXVI by now, you’re missing out. Page CXVI reimagines old hymns, giving them new life. Their newest project is a journey through the Christian calendar. They began with Advent and Christmas, and now they’re taking on Lent through Maundy Thursday.
Many of us connect to God through music. Page CXVI’s new album can be a beautiful guide through this season. Here’s a song from the new album (I’d say it’s my favorite, but they’re all my favorite.). It’s called “This Blessed Day” and you can listen to the whole thing right here:
“This Blessed Day” by Page CXVI from Lent to Maundy Thursday
Page CXVI’s new album comes out on March 4. You can buy it here.