How We Can Observe Lent
As I write this, yesterday was Ash Wednesday. For most of us that have never been part of a liturgical church, you may not know what Ash Wednesday is all about. It is the beginning of Lent which ends on Easter, April 3, of this year.
Early Christians felt that the magnitude of the Easter celebration called for special preparation and fasting. Over time, perhaps in remembrance of Jesus’ fasting for 40 days in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1–2), 40 days became the accepted length of the Lenten season. From the earliest years of Christianity, it had been considered inappropriate to fast on the day of the resurrection, Sundays were not counted in the 40 days. Thus, the Wednesday 46 days before Easter came to be regarded as the beginning of Lent.
Lent was an intense time of preparation for those planning on getting baptized on Easter Sunday (the one day a year baptisms were held.) As well as a time of fasting, in recent times Lent has become a period of increased spiritual exercises and attention to the needs of the poor.
As we approach Easter, let me encourage you to read your favorite gospel and spend time meditating on what Easter means to you. You may use this time for an inward look at your life to assess your personal spirituality. You may want to give up something, like one hour of television, to spend more time in Bible study and prayer.
However you choose to prepare for Easter, may God richly bless your effort! In my opinion Easter is far more important than Christmas and it needs as much if not more preparation than Christmas.
Onward and Upward!