Holy Lent

Holy Lent

Author: The Rev. Dr. David Bridges, Priest
February 17, 2021

 The observance of a Christian Season of Lent likely began shortly after the Council of Nicea (325 AD). The Council worked to define who we are as Christians when Christianity was first legalized. From it we have the Nicene Creed, and other documents used by the church to this day.

Lent is the 40-day period leading up to Easter. It is symbolic of the 40-days Jesus was in the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The Christian observance of Lent has historically focused on fasting and self-denial.

The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial. Easter is the major Feast Day of the Christian year, and Feast Days are always preceded by fasting.  

Lent is observed by Anglican (Episcopalian), Methodist, Presbyterian, Nazarene, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, Moravian, Reformed, Roman Catholic, and some Anabaptist and evangelical churches.

Our observation of the 40-day season of Lent leads-up to the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. It is a time to reflect on our total dependence on the Messiah. It is a time of self-examination and self-denial as a reminder of where we came from.

Genesis 2:7 reads: “Then the Lord God formed [humans] from the dust of the ground and breathed into [their] nostrils the breath of life, and [humans] became living being[s].” Thus the symbolism of the ashes, and the words, “Remember you are dust and to dust you will return.”

The imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday is an outward sign of the personal observance of Lent. You have likely seen someone with a black-smudged cross on their forehead. These ashes are made from burning the palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday.

They are a given as a sign of repentance and purification, and a reminder to us that our mortal bodies will return to dust. This season of Lent is part of an annual re-living of the journey of Jesus from pre-Incarnate Word of God, to God-in-the-flesh, to the cross to die for our sins, to be resurrected as King of Kings and Lord of Lords; the conqueror of death and the grave!

This is in many ways an opportunity for a fresh start. This may be the year you choose to give-up something once-and-for-all. Perhaps you will decide to make a change in your life that has been lingering in the back of your mind.

However you choose to observe this Holy Lent, you will be joining countless millions of believers on this journey of self-improvement and preparation for the Feast of Easter!

Blessings and Peace to You All,

Fr. David+



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