Thursday, March 10th, 2011

But do Baptists do Lent?

In the church calendar of more liturgical traditions, Lent is the name of the 40 days before Easter. It begins with Ash Wednesday. Why “ash”? Think of sackcloth and ashes–grief over our sins that led to Jesus’ death. And it ends with the glorious celebration of Jesus’ resurrection–life.

In response to my previous couple of posts about the beginning of Lent, I see 4 sorts of comments:

  1. I grew up in a church that observed Lent, but I left that behind because it seemed more  like just going through motions for the sake of tradition.
  2. I grew up in a church that observed Lent and I met Jesus there, so Lent is a special time for me.
  3. We don’t think so much about the word Lent, but here are things that we do to help us prepare our hearts for celebrating Easter.
  4. I’ve never really heard of Lent before. What am I supposed to be doing?

It’s not at all important whether we name this particular 40 days Lent. It’s not important whether we think in terms of a church calendar. There aren’t certain specified activities that must be done. Whatever we do or don’t do and whether or not we give a name to the season, at the end of 40 days, it will be Easter, the most important day of the year for a Christian. Will it sneak up on us, or will we have prepared our hearts?

We reveal to ourselves and others what is important to us by the way we celebrate. Is the season before Easter mainly a hassle to get to the mall and a strain on the budget purchasing clothes, candy, cards, and groceries for a big dinner? Or is it several days or weeks of considering God’s work in our lives through Jesus, along with special activities to help us think about Jesus’death and resurrection?

[Adapted from Treasuring God in Our Traditions]

Reminder: Midnight tonight is the deadline for the giveaway of 20 copies of Lenten Lights.

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3 Responses to “But do Baptists do Lent?”

  1. Our church (a reformed Baptist fellowship) celebrates The Lord’s Supper every Sunday. I never partake of this Ordinance unless my heart is fully prepared for Jesus–without an utter awesomeness and recognition of my sin nailing Him to the cross, what He accomplished both in His perfect life and death, and with His glorious resurrection.

    Easter does not sneak up on me because I earnestly celebrate it at each Lord’s Supper.

    I don’t celebrate Lent because there is nothing more miraculous about that 40 day period than what happened in the 3 days before the very first Easter.

    Perhaps it is more important to make all that Christ accomplished in our daily walk and in our relationship with Him rather than a contrived activity. Sola Scriptura.

  2. Thanks Noel for including this info about Lent. I grew up Baptist and was always told “Lent is what Catholics do, so we don’t do that.” But the (Baptist) church my husband and I now attend participates in Lent and last year was the first time I participated. It’s not a “celebration”, it’s a preparation, like you have said. It’s not contrived, it’s sincere and respectful. I feel if Advent can help me focus on Christmas, than Lent does so for Easter. I need these reminders to keep my my focus because I know my sinful and wicked heart can never be fully prepared for Jesus until the day He makes me new in Him.

  3. Would be a blessing to be able learn more.

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