What is Lent?

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The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are at the heart of the Christian gospel, and Good Friday and Easter are two of the most significant celebrations of the Christian year. Lent is a 40-day season of preparation and repentance during which we anticipate Good Friday and Easter.

Just as we carefully prepare for big events in our personal lives, such as a wedding or commencement, Lent is a special time of prayer, penance, and sacrifice that invites us to remember Jesus’ passion and celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.

What do I do during Lent?

People observe Lent in many different ways — prayer, personal worship, repentance, or fasting from something they love to remind them of Christ’s sacrifice, to name a few. Grace will be offering suggestions for your time of Lent that revolve around repentance of sin and reaching others with the good news of Christ.

The history of Lent

Since the earliest times of the Church, there is evidence of some kind of Lenten preparation for Easter, and Lent became more regularized after the legalization of Christianity in A.D. 313. The practice of a forty-day preparation period began in the Christian church during the third and fourth centuries. The number forty carries biblical significance, including the forty years Israel spent in the wilderness and Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness.

The word Lent itself is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words lencten, meaning “Spring,” and lenctentid, which means not only “Springtide” but also was the word for “March,” the month in which the majority of Lent falls.

Just as we carefully prepare for big events in our personal lives, such as a wedding or commencement, Lent is a special time of prayer, penance, and sacrifice that invites us to remember Jesus’ passion and celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.

Why are we participating in Lent at Grace?

We desire to connect people to the deep traditions of our faith and to bring light and meaning to their practice. Since Grace began in 2003, we have participated in Advent as a church family —  a month-long event to prepare our hearts for the celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas. Believing the resurrection of Jesus and its celebration at Easter to be even more of a central event to our faith, the elders desired to expand on its celebration at Grace as well.

Lent is not just a Catholic Church tradition — Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist and other congregations also observe Lent. Lent is also not a requirement for the Christian life — it is simply a chance to call our hearts to reflection and action. It is setting aside days in our calendar to be intentionally grateful for the cross of Christ and to desire that others would be drawn to the sacrifice and victory that happened there.

When does Lent start?

The forty days of Lent begin on Ash Wednesday (March 1 this year) and continue through Holy Week and Easter, not counting Sundays which are reserved for celebratory worship.

At Grace, we are focusing our period of Lent on both our own repentence from sin and on calling others out from their sin to find life in Christ.

We will begin with our Ash Wednesday services on March 1st.