Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 2 marks the beginning of Lent, the forty-day season not counting Sundays, leading up to Easter and the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. The word Lent means “spring.” It is an expansion of the approximate 40-hour fast observed by the early church before Easter. Since the Council of Nicea in 325 A .D., it has been a period of fasting. Credit is often given to one pope Gregory (540-604 A.D.) for formally instituting the days of Lent.
Lent was thus a period of time during which Christians sought the forgiveness of God and in theory a closer walk with Him. The season of Lent is found nowhere in the Bible, it is a man-made perhaps well-intentioned period of time. In and of itself it is not sacred or holy and like almost everything man-made it has become in many instances ritualistic and meaningless.
Why then do we celebrate Lent? In reality, we don’t. We will not be encouraging the giving up of anything or the reminder of ashes on our foreheads or extended periods of fasting. We are, however, using this time where people hear about Lent to do something that we as followers of Jesus ought to be doing regularly. We are focusing in a concentrated way on the death of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are also examining just what His death means to us. We are, as the apostle Paul did, seeking “always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” (2 Cor. 4:10).
Thus we are setting apart this time to focus on Jesus. We are following the author of Hebrews’ invitation when he says “consider Jesus” (Hebrews 12:3). I invite you then to join us through the attached readings. May our prayer for the next few weeks be with the Hymn writer and may we ask the Lord to individually and corporately “Lead Me to Calvary.”