Thursday, March 10th, 2011
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:
- 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.
- I grew up in a church that observed Lent and I met Jesus there, so Lent is a special time for me.
- 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.
- 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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