What is Lent?
Lent is a period of 40 days before Easter that the church sets aside for self-reflection, confession, and repentance.
Why is this season called Lent?
The English word “Lent” comes from an old Saxon word that means “spring” – when the days lengthen.
Why do we observe Lent?
The New Testament connects baptism with the death and resurrection of Jesus, so the early church performed baptisms at Easter. Lent was originally a time to prepare for baptism by fasting. Although the connection between baptism and Easter has faded, we still use this time to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
When does Lent begin?
Lent starts on Ash Wednesday. This year, Ash Wednesday is March 2.
When does Lent end?
Easter Sunday marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the Easter season. This year, Easter is April 17.
If Lent is only 40 days long, why does it start 46 days before Easter?
There are six Sundays during Lent, which are not included in the count of 40 days. Sundays are always “feast days” in the church — even during Lent — which means that Lenten fasts may be broken on Sundays.
Why does Lent last for 40 days?
The Bible connects the number 40 to preparation. The Israelites spent 40 years in the desert before entering the promised land. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness before beginning his ministry.
What is an Ash Wednesday service?
In our tradition, we observe Ash Wednesday with a worship service that includes communion and the imposition of ashes on worshipers’ foreheads.
What’s the deal with the ashes?
In the Bible, ashes are a symbol of repentance. They are also a symbol of mortality. When you get the sign of the cross on your head in ashes, you are acknowledging that you are a sinner and that one day you will die.
Where do the ashes come from?
Traditionally, Ash Wednesday ashes are made from the palms of a previous year’s Palm Sunday worship service.
And if I don’t want ashes on my forehead…?
That’s okay. It is appropriate to receive only communion, only ashes, both, or neither.
What is fasting?
Fasting means not doing something for a set period of time. In some church traditions, people fast from certain foods during Lent.
Am I supposed to fast during Lent?
It’s your choice. Fasting is one of many appropriate ways to observe Lent. If you choose to fast, remember that the goal of fasting is to be more Christ-like and to focus your attention on God. Also remember that Sundays are always “feast days” and not “fast days.”
What if I decide not to fast?
That’s fine! There are plenty of other ways to observe Lent and to refocus your heart and mind on God.
What are some other ways to observe Lent?
Anything that helps you recognize your sin, repent from it, and refocus on God is a great choice! You might choose activities like keeping a prayer journal, spending time in silence and solitude, using your talents to serve those in need, joining a Bible study or small group, sharing your faith with someone, or renewing your commitment to follow Jesus. The options are almost endless.
Our worship services during Lent will prioritize confession. If you would like to receive daily emails to prompt your own confession, email email@example.com.
Whether you remove something from your life that distracts your attention from Jesus, or add something to your life that points you toward Jesus, remember that the purpose of Lent is to make you more like Jesus and get you ready for the celebration of Easter.