February 25, 2009


What exactly is Lent?
"Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and taking stock....By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days."

Today is the beginning of Lent. When I was growing up I was in a town where most people were either Catholic or Mormon. I was one of 3 Church of Christers in my high school of 750. What I knew of Lent growing up was that was the day that the Catholics went to church and ashes were rubbed on their forehead. And I also knew that if you were Catholic you gave something up for Lent. Some people I knew would give up chocolate or sweets. Fast forward 20 years and I live in a town that is made up of Baptists, C of C, Methodist, Lutheran, Catholics... On Ash Wednesday today, I saw one young lady with ash on her forehead, and forgot for the moment that it was Ash Wednesday, thank goodness I held back the urge to tell her she had something on her forehead that needed washing off. It is just not as predominant here as it was where I grew up.

I learned in my spiritual formation class that the Christian Orthodoxy faith practices Lent, in fact on the website I have the link for in the first sentence, it says all churches with their roots extending before 1500 AD observe Lent. The Link also explains why some newer (like in the last 1000 years churches don't celebrate Lent).

On that same website there is a link to some information on fasting. Fasting is associated with Lent because people often will "fast" from chocolate or something else they would normally eat. And during that craving or thought for that food, one can think upon and pray to the Lord.

Why am I writing about this, I am not Catholic, I am not Christian Orthodox? Observing Lent is becoming more and more common among evangelical Christians. For years several members of my family have observed Lent by removing something, or adding something to their day in remembrance of the Lord. This year I decided I would observe Lent. Because...Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and taking stock. I am sure that this will be a learning "Lent Season" for me. I will be adding and subracting. I will be adding daily prayer, ancient prayers, 3 times a day, and I will be subracting sugar sweets....yes, sugar sweets. The one thing that tempts me like no other. I will have a lot of time to think upon the Lord as I am turning away from sugar and eating an apple, or making some hot tea. Fasting has blessed me so much over the last couple of years. It has brought me face to face with my compelling desire to not want to withhold. It has brought the face of Jesus to mind when I am physically hungry but know that Jesus is my true Sustainer.

I know that with God's help and guidance this next 40 days will be a time of searching my soul, and finding my way closer to Him, it will be a time of blessing, a time of meditation and a renewal of my commitment to the Lord.

It can be for you too. If soul-searching, repentance, reflection and taking stock are appealing to you then take this opportunity to join with me in this pilgrimage.