Lent

Lent is a season of forty days, (excluding Sundays) beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending at sundown on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter.  It is a time of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter.  In self-examination and reflection, Christians focus on their relationship with God.   The forty days of Lent represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward, he was hungry.                                             – Matthew 4:1-2

 

During Lent, we seek to literally “turn around” and realign our lives with God. It is a time to give up things as well as give of ourselves for others, helping rid ourselves of distractions and our own selfish desires. By doing so, we seek to live and love as more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate. – Joel 2:12-14 

Lent is an opportunity to contemplate what our Lord really did for us on the Cross.  The purpose of Lent, however, does not ultimately stop at sadness and despair – it points us to the hope and joy of the Resurrection, the day when every tear will be dried, and the promises of eternity.

“I want to know Christ, yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participate in his sufferings, becoming like him in death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.  – Philippians 3:10-11

Lent is a time when Christians separate from the world; when we find out our faith is not just a feel-good, self-help religion but one that answers the deepest questions of life and eternity. Those who journey through the Lenten season will enter the Easter season with an increased appreciation for who God is and what He has done for us.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.       -John 3:16

                                              -excerpted and paraphrased from umc.org and various sources