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Lent Resources

What Is Lent All About?

Lent is about the Good News (Gospel) of Jesus. Lent is a 40-day season of reflection and preparation for Easter and the hope we have in Jesus. This season is a time for the church to focus on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, to turn from our brokenness and resistance toward God, and to trust more fully in Jesus. Lent is a time of repentance for followers of Jesus. We consider the sufferings of Christ and reflect upon Jesus’ call for us to center our lives on him.

The first documented practice of Lent came from the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. This was the same group that produced the Nicene Creed, something Christians have observed since that time as a foundational theological document of our faith. Lent is mentioned in the fifth canon of Nicea, noting that the word used to describe this practice means “forty.”

Long before the Council of Nicea, Christians celebrated Easter Sunday as a day to remember the resurrection of Jesus. The early church would fast two or three days before Easter to prepare for the celebration. In addition, the church would celebrate baptism on Easter Sunday and encouraged those being baptized to fast in order to mourn their past life of sin and look forward to the declaration of new life found in Jesus. By the time the council of Nicea took place, many churches had extended the preparation time to 40 days, to imitate the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness in preparation for his public ministry (Matt. 4v1-2).

For many, the season of Lent is a time for us to prepare to celebrate the hope of Easter through fasting and cultivating deeper intimacy with Jesus. It is a time for fasting and self-denial, although the end is not in itself, self-denial. It is a season to empty ourselves of lesser things so that we might be filled with the greater things of the Gospel. It is a season to more fully apprentice ourselves to Jesus and walk with him in his life, death, and resurrection.

The Lenten Calendar

The English word Lent comes from the Saxon word that means “spring” or “lengthening,” describing the light growing each day as summer nears. In many languages the word lent is connected to the word “forty.” Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter Sunday. It is marked by times of fasting and feasting. In the weeks leading up to Easter, those who observe Lent will fast during the week and feast on Sundays. This pattern continues as the church journeys toward Easter week. The final time period of Lent is described as Holy Week, including Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.

The period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday has many biblical equivalents. From Noah and the flood (Genesis 6–8), the Law being given to Moses on Sinai (Exodus 24), to Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4, Mark 1, Luke 4), the Bible presents such 40-day time periods as significant moments of preparation for what God was about to do next.

In our Western context it is easy to lose sight of what Easter is really about, while getting lost in all of the cultural expectations. Lent is a beautiful reminder that Easter only happens because of the reality of Good Friday. We have hope of resurrection and the renewal of all things because of the crucifixion of Christ, culminating in his resurrection.

Weekly Fasts

Each Wednesday, we invite you to fast from food, along with the whole church. These weekly fasts can help us more deeply trust and follow Jesus. By stepping back from commotion, clutter, and noise, we hope to find greater room for the Holy Spirit to speak through Scripture. Instead of simply subtracting something from our lives, this is an opportunity to add something greater.

The hope is that a season of unplugging from the background buzz will be leveraged for the sake of being with Jesus. We encourage you to leverage the fast to engage in deeper prayer, study, community, meditation, and other spiritually beneficial habits.

None of this is intended as a burden, but rather an opportunity as we practice the presence of God as a church family during this season leading up to Easter.