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What is the Practice of Lent?

Written by GVOffice on .

Lent, a forty-day period preceding Easter, serves as a time for Christians to prepare and reflect. Though not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, this tradition has deep historical roots dating back to the the early centuries of the Church when believers fasted before the celebration of Passover.

The term “Lent” finds its origins in Old English, meaning spring season – ‘lencten.’

The forty-day duration reminds us of other significant biblical events like the Flood, Moses’ time on the mountain, and Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. Since none of those events are repeatable, how does modern, forty-day period of preparation, look today?

How is Lent practiced today?

In modern practice of Lent includes repenting, reflecting, and fasting over a period of 40 days leading up Easter.

  • Repenting of sins, and taking this time to change habits and begin to follow after God in a renewed way.
  • Reflection on our lives and what attitudes and behaviors we need to change.
  • Fasting can take various forms, from abstaining from specific foods to breaking certain habits

The spiritual disciplines during this period include extra prayer, increased scripture reading, attending additional church services, and serving in the local community.

When Does Lent Start?

Lent is celebrated at different times, depending on the Christian branch. Western Churches mark its beginning with Ash Wednesday, while Eastern Churches start on Clean Monday. The observation varies each year due to Easter’s changing date.

This year, 2024, the dates are follows

  • Ash Wednesday – February 14
  • Clean Monday – March 18

Many Christians today view Lent as a time for self-sacrifice and spiritual growth, focusing on fasting, prayer, Bible reading, and worship. While not mandated in the Bible, the benefits of engaging in these activities for forty days can only lead to spiritual growth.

Lent this Year

As Easter approaches, the choice to observe Lent is personal. Whether it’s a familiar tradition or a new exploration, the time of Lent is a time of preparing hearts and minds for the celebration of the Resurrection.

How will you engage with this meaningful tradition in the coming weeks?

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