Lent & Ash Wednesday
It’s almost that time of year again – Lent. Often the most common question about Lent is “What are you giving up?” Have you ever wondered why people give things up, or why we even observe Lent at all? Here’s a basic explanation of the season; for more, check out a couple of our posts from recent years that have to do with Lent:
- Looking Toward Lent (background information and creative ways to observe the season)
- The Archbishop On Lent (a great explanation of why Lent is observed the way it it)
What is Lent?
It is a 46-day season (the 40-day count excludes Sundays) of spiritual renewal lasting from Ash Wednesday to Easter, observed by many denominations and traditions within the larger Church.
Lent is not: only a ‘Catholic thing,’ simply a religious ritual, or a means to earning God’s approval. It is more.
When practiced with the right frame of mind, it can be a meaningful time of repentance, cleasing, renewal, and joy. Like the Resurrection, it anticipates; Lent is meant to be an interruption of the normal flow of our lives. It is meant to awaken our soul in order to attend to the life of the spirit. By observing Lent, we prepare our hearts to fully embrace the miracle of Easter.
Why do people give up something for Lent?
It’s common practice to give up something for Lent: chocolate, TV, meat, gossip, caffeine, complaining, sugar, shopping… It doesn’t have to be a vice, but it should be something we are fond of, or dependent on, or that fills a certain need for us. It’s a kind of fasting, and the goal of fasting is an increased appetite for and dependence on God. Think about what might be an appropriate ‘fast’ for you this season…
Would you like some ideas? The comments in this post by Rachel Held Evans have some great suggestions.
When do I get started?
Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten season. On Wednesday, February 13, you have the opportunity to mark that beginning by joining in a 30-minute time of reflection in the auditorium at FN. This time will be provided at three different points during the day. You can come at 7:00 am, 12:00 noon, or at 6:00 pm – whichever time fits your schedule best.
Our hope is that you and your family would join us in observing Lent this year, and that through this observance, God would meet you in significant ways during this season.