What is Lent?
Lent is a season of repentance and renewal that culminates in Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Just as we carefully prepare for big events in our personal lives—such as a wedding, graduation, or moving to a new city—Lent invites us to draw near to God and prepare our hearts for fully remembering Jesus’ passion and celebrating Jesus’ resurrection.
The practice of a forty-day season began in the Christian church during the third and fourth centuries. The number forty is based on the forty years Israel spent in the wilderness and Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness. The forty days of Lent begin on Ash Wednesday (February 26) and continue through Holy Week (until April 11). Sundays are not included; they are considered days of “feasting” and rest.
Perhaps Lent sounds strange or is new to you. Maybe you thought it was only for Catholics. We encourage you to give it a try this year. Experiment with this ancient pathway for drawing near to God. Here’s our worship service schedule:
Feb 26: Ash Wednesday service at 7pm
Mar 1: First Sunday of Lent service at 9am
Mar 8: Second Sunday of Lent service at 9am
Mar 15: Third Sunday of Lent service at 9am
Mar 22: Fourth Sunday of Lent service at 9am
Mar 29: Fifth Sunday of Len; service at 9am
Apr 5: Sixth Sunday of Lent service at 9am
Apr 10: Good Friday service at 7:30pm
Apr 12: Easter Sunday services at 6:30 and 9am
Give Up // Let Go
Historically, Christians have ‘given something up’ during Lent as a way to focus on their relationship with God. This is the part of Lent most people do not like. It’s not very fun. And it can come across like we’re trying to impress God with our sacrifice.
This year, approach Lent with a different attitude. What if giving up is more about letting go? What if God does not want to add a new burden, but actually remove one? You are already over-busy and over-burdened. What if you “let go” of some- thing that has become a burden or distraction, something that has begun to exert too much influence over your life? It may be more freeing than you think. Here are a few suggestions:
+ Certain foods such as meat, sugar/sweets/desserts, processed foods, a specific meal each day (like lunch), or going out to eat
+ Certain beverages such as coffee/caffeine, alcohol, soda, or anything other than water
+ Technology that often intrudes into our lives, like social media, texting, smart phones, or the internet in general
+ Forms of media/entertainment, such as television, movies, Netflix, music, blogs, podcasts, or the news
+ Shopping or purchasing anything that is not necessary
+ Any leisure activities that have become all-consuming
There are many options. The idea is not to kill yourself. But letting go of something may not be comfortable either. Ideally, it would be something that you miss regularly, something that unnecessarily fills up too much time, creates too much stress, or distracts you from more important endeavors. If you’re still not sure about this practice, give it a try and see what you learn. The goal is not perfection or success. Our intention is to make space in our hearts and lives to look inward and experience God in a new way during this season.