For the Christian Church, the season of Lent includes the 40 days beginning on Ash Wednesday, going through Holy Week, and ending on the Saturday before Easter. Sundays are not counted since Sundays celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Many biblical events are associated with the number 40, but Lent is most commonly connected to the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness after his baptism.
Originating in the 4th century, the church has marked this time with prayer, introspection, and repentance as we prepare for the holiest day of celebration – Christ’s resurrection on Easter. We traditionally focus on confession of our sin, fasting, and giving to others.
The last week of Lent is Holy Week. During this holiest time of the liturgical year, the church relives the final week of Christ’s life. On Palm Sunday, believers celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. On Maundy Thursday we revisit the Last Supper and institution of Holy Communion, while on Good Friday we recall the passion and crucifixion of the Lord.
The Messiah’s defeat of sin and death on the cross, confirmed by the resurrection three days later, fulfilled the covenant God made with Abraham and Israel that through him all families of the earth would be blessed. In this, Christ gave us a new and redeemed world in which we are free to live in the Kingdom of God – now and forever. We are part of a continuous line of Christians who have celebrated for 2000 years God Incarnate who was born of the Virgin Mary, lived sinlessly, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. He opened wide the doors of the Kingdom of God in today’s world and promised his presence with us always. He offers peace beyond our circumstances, joy beyond our expressions, wisdom beyond our understanding, and accomplishments beyond our abilities.
Father, guide me to use these 40 days of Lent to honestly look into my soul, repent of my waywardness, and commit to loving and serving you more.