by Natalie Lynn Borton
Today is Ash Wednesday, which some of you may know marks the beginning of the season of Lent, a 40-day period of time before Easter.
“The word ‘lent’ comes from the Latin word for ‘lengthen,’ because the days of Lent occur during the springtime of the year, when the daylight hours increase. The period consists of 40 days because the number 40 has special biblical significance: Moses and the people of Israel were in the wilderness for 40 years; Jesus was tempted in the desert for 40 days. Since the days of the early church, in the decades and centuries after the death and Resurrection of Christ, Christians have regarded the period of Lent as a time for repentence and reflection. It is invariably marked by fasting (going without food and/or water for a period of time), by giving up something during Lent (sweets; the sports page), and by taking on such habits that will increase one’s devotion to Christ.” (www.pcusa.org/lent)
Although sacrifice and fasting are certainly part of observing Lent, it’s important for us to remember that it’s not about the sacrifice we choose to make or our discipline in fasting–it’s about Jesus.
“Anything that makes us less self-indulgent and more aware of our responsibilities to our neighbor can be helpful. But let’s not miss the larger goal, the greater reason. The point of the Christian walk is to become like Christ, and Lent—the fasting, the prayers, the repentance, the self-discipline—is there to help us on the journey.” –Joel J. Miller
Will you observe Lent this year? If so, what will you do (or not do) to become more like Jesus?