Lent? Isn't that for Catholics?

This is the third blog post in my series on the liturgical church calendar. So far, we have covered Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. If you missed those posts, you could find the Advent post HERE, and the Christmas and Epiphany post HERE. Today, we are going to look at Lent.

Lent is a season of anticipation and preparation that precedes Easter. It is a time for Christians to reflect on Christ’s work on the cross. Lent is 40 days long. It begins on Ash Wednesday (Feb 22 this year) and ends on Easter (April 9 this year). Lent provides us with time and space to repent and draw near to God before the celebration of Easter. Traditionally, three spiritual disciplines are connected with Lent. Those disciplines are fasting, giving, and prayer. For many people, fasting is the most well-known discipline connected to Lent. It is common to hear people discussing what they are going to “give up” for Lent. There is nothing wrong with this but ultimately, Lent is a time for us to fast in order to focus on our relationship with God, not to simply eliminate TikTok or sugar. Ideally, we can use the time we are fasting to focus on the other two spiritual disciplines of Lent, giving and prayer.

Giving is an important spiritual discipline in the life of a believer. Scripture calls us to give of our money and our time. As we spend time during the Lenten season reflecting on our need for repentance and our ability to be reconciled with our God, giving is an image of being able to be reconciled with one another. As we give generously to others, especially those who cannot reciprocate, we are moving toward reconciliation for all people. We are able to break the chains of materialism and consumerism. We are able to see those around us as fellow image-bearers. We give because God commands it. And we give because it is one way in which we fulfill God’s command to love our neighbor. Lent is a perfect time for this.
Prayer is a vital spiritual discipline in the life of a believer. Prayer is how we communicate with God. Fasting creates space in our lives as we are abstaining from food or other time-consuming activities. As we do this throughout the Lenten season, prayer is the perfect discipline to use to fill that time. As we take back hours from social media, eating, etc let’s fill those hours by communing with our Maker.

As we enter the Lent season, we want to offer some resources to help engage with the spiritual disciplines we’ve talked about here. First up, the EFCA Eastern District has put together a group of resources for the Free Churches in our district to use this year for Lent. You can find those resources HERE. They include a worship playlist, devotional books that are Lent themed, and a series of breath prayers. Each of the resources provided are excellent and well worth your time. Second, Axis has an incredible parent guide for Lent. If you haven’t signed up for Axis Premium yet, you can do so HERE. It is completely free. If you have any questions about Lent, what it is, what it means, why we celebrate it, or anything else, please feel free to reach out to any of our pastors. We would love to chat with you!

Josh Cervone