About Lent

Things you might not know about Lent….

The original period of Lent was 40 hours. It was spent in fasting to commemorate the suffering of Christ. During the reign of Charlemagne, about 800 AD, it was lengthened to 40 days, not including Sundays.

The 40 days of Lent now correspond to Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness after his baptism. Lent has now evolved into a time of baptismal renewal. The date of Lent is determined by the date of Easter. The Council of Nicea determined in 325 AD that Easter would be observed on the first Sunday following the 14th day of the Paschal Moon. The earliest that Lent can begin is 5 February. That happened last in 1818. The latest that Lent can start is 10 March. It will not be that late again until the year 2038.

Lent comes from the old English word for Spring, Lenten. The use of ashes is a custom going back to Old Testament times. Christians around the world observe the custom of using the ashes of the previous year’s burned Palm Sunday palms to put on the foreheads of all the penitent.

The day before Ash Wednesday, Shrove Tuesday, is celebrated in many parts of the world with feasting. The French call it Mardi Gras; the Germans call it Fasching. The feasting comes from the custom of using up household fats (lard) prior to the 40 days of Lenten fasting when no fat is used.

Did you know…Pastor Bob’s family name, “Schmalzle”, is a German name for the “baker of fat.” As far back as the 1400’s the Schmalzles were some of those who organized the Fasching feast the day before Ash Wednesday.

The one fact you must know…

These facts about Lent are interesting, but they are not really very important. The one important fact in your life is that Christ died for your sins to be forgiven.

A fact so simple…so familiar…so huge…so wonderful, that it is hard to grasp. That is why Christians observe Lent – to set forty days aside to think about Christ’s death and what it means.

Lent gives you another chance to think about your sins and what it means that Christ died for them. It gives you another chance to review your life, another chance to grow in faith and love.

Lent is a time to be close to God – closer than you have ever been. It is a time to read the Bible more diligently, and to spread the Word of God more earnestly. It is a time to practice the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and acts of love.

The Lenten season can be the most important forty days of every year.

Traditional Lenten Disciplines

1. FASTING:  to abstain from, or to “give up” a favorite food or drink.  We can also fast by denying ourselves other pleasures that you regularly enjoy.  Fasting can reveal our inner cravings, sins hidden deep within us, and the changes needed to be more Christ-like.

2. PRAYER:  to pray more frequently and to identify which aspect of my two-way communication with God is most lacking.  Is it when. . .I speak to God?. . .God listens to me?. . .God speaks to me?. . .or when, I listen to God?

3. ACTS OF LOVE:  to serve others through listening, being hospitable, guarding another’s reputation, or, assisting those in need, etc.  Being a servant of Christ is to serve for the sake of the Kingdom, not for rewards or feedback.

My Forty Day Lenten Discipline

FASTING
For 40 days, I will abstain from:
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

PRAYER
For 40 days, I will pray more frequently.
When: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Where: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

For Whom/What:_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ACTS OF LOVE
For 40 days, I will be more loving and kind to certain people.

Who will it involve? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

What will I specifically do? :_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

How often will I do it? :_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

I agree that when I fail in any aspect of my Lenten Discipline, I will ask for the Lord’s forgiveness, thereby recognizing:

+ My sinful nature
+ The forgiveness I receive through the Cross of Christ

 

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