Staff member Jeremy reflects on the season of Lent, its history and what it means.
Today is Ash Wednesday, which starts the season on the Christian liturgical calendar known as Lent. The Lenten season runs from Ash Wednesday to Easter. Some faiths count Lent as 40 days (which does not count the Sundays during the season) alluding to the time Jesus spent in the desert fasting and being tempted by Satan. For this reason, many people take the opportunity during Lent to fast in some way by giving up something – candy, soda, TV shopping, meat on Fridays (if you’re Catholic), etc. In fact, the festival of Mardi Gras (which is French for Fat Tuesday) was meant as a sort of last hurrah before the fasting and repentant period of Lent.
In my life, I have always given up something like candy or soda. Once I gave up meat and another time fasted completely on certain days. However, I think that I may have missed the point of the season. Some may say it is meant solely to be a time of repentance and self-denial. I have since come to believe that its true purpose is simply to bring us closer to God and to remind us of Jesus’ sacrifice. In this vein, instead of simply giving something up, I believe we should also take something on – daily Bible study, more prayer, or acts of service. This season I encourage you to think through what Lent has meant and can mean in your life and to ultimately remember Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s love for us all.