What Is Lent?

Lent is a season of community-wide reflection that lasts 40 days (excluding Sundays) preceding the celebration of Easter.  The 40 days are reminiscent of Moses’ 40 days on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 24:18) as well as Jesus’ 40-day fast and preparation for His public, Spirit-filled ministry (Matt. 4:1-11).

The celebration of Lent can be traced back to at least the year 130 A.D.  It was used as a two or three day fast and preparation for those who were entering the Christian faith through baptism.  By 325 A.D., around the time of the Council of Nicaea, this preparatory fast would last 40 days and soon after, not only were prospects for baptism participating, but also entire congregations, including those already baptized.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, so named after a tradition of marking participants with ash, a sign used in the Scriptures to denote mourning and repentance.  Many Christian congregations hold an Ash Wednesday gathering and participate in this custom.

A Lenten devotional is available for you.  Our intent is to give some ideas, thoughts, and challenges that may be helpful in the self-examination process.  Additional readings are suggested for you at the end of each week.  You will notice that the readings on Sundays are different.  During Lent, Sundays are known as “Feast Days.”  Traditionally they are days when the Church comes together and breaks their “fast” by sharing the Lord’s Supper. 

During this season we also want to keep in the forefront the mission that Christ put before Himself and before us.  However, our sense of mission is propelled by the work God does in our hearts during Lent.  Like the bread in the Lord’s Supper, it is only after we’ve been broken that we can be given to the world.  Lent prepares us to be given to the world and God’s mission in it.  We pray that during the Lenten journey you will encounter God in a new and deeper way as you join Christ in His mission.

What to do During Lent

Scripture – When facing temptation in the desert, Jesus relied on Scripture to counter the deception of the devil.  It is a formidable weapon for us as well.  Lent is an excellent time to begin to remedy the rampant problem of biblical illiteracy.  The guide includes a reading and questions for reflection for every day of the season.  We intentionally did not include the text of the scripture passages in the guide to aide in your ability to navigate your Bible and find the indicated passages.

Fasting – Temporary abstaining from those things that are pleasurable (usually food or certain kinds of food), for reflective or spiritual purposes. The ancient Church would fast all but one meal per day during the 40-day Lenten season with a strict fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  Sunday is always a feast of Resurrection and is a break from the fast.

Prayer – Fasting for the sake of fasting can become spiritually meaningless.  The purpose of fasting is to use those times to focus deeply on prayer.  Hunger pains can serve as reminders that your spirit is in need of nourishing.  It would also be a helpful practice to start a prayer journal and answer the simple questions from the scripture readings.

There is no abiding law for the season of Lent.  Participation should be driven by an attitude of grace and joy. 

 

 

New Covenant Church on the Lake exists to live in love and grace through the gospel of Jesus Christ -  in our families, neighborhoods, work places, and communities through the spiritual change it brings, and the life it calls us to live in this world. 

How does it work? 

Our vision is accomplished through gathering for worship, life experienced in community groups, active involvement in social service, and the taking of the gospel into our community and the world. 

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Connecting people to God

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Connecting people in the community

 

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