Why do we celebrate Lent?

Updated: Feb 29, 2020

by Laurie Acker

Lent is the season leading up to Easter, beginning with Ash Wednesday. Lent began in the early centuries as a time to prepare our hearts in anticipation of Easter Sunday, remembering Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness and the sacrifice in His life journey to the Cross. It is always 46 days long, representing Jesus’ 40 days of fasting, plus 6 Sundays.

While Lent is a time of anticipation and preparation, it is also a heartfelt time of repentance and reflection.

Just as it’s impossible to fully appreciate sunshine unless you’ve experienced rain or to fully celebrate healing without experiencing pain, we cannot join in the Resurrection life without sharing in Christ’s sufferings.

1 Peter 4:13

But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Celebrating Lent is a Choice, not a Command

While some evangelicals consider Lent a Catholic tradition, many non-Catholic Christians all over the globe embrace Lent as an opportunity to turn their hearts toward God, joining collectively with other Jesus-followers to intentionally add a pause into the noise of our culture.

The Three Pillars of Lent are Prayer, Fasting, and Giving

Consider how you might go deeper in discipleship this season by practicing some new disciplines of prayer, fasting, or giving. I use the word ‘discipline’ because none of these are natural for us.

While prayer, fasting, and giving might become a beautiful habit as we practice them more, left to our own devices we tend to fall away from these.

PRAYER: Over the next 6 weeks, think about setting aside a specific time for prayer, starting a habit of daily journaling, or committing to a Summit Group on Sunday mornings.

FASTING: In the area of fasting, you may decide it’s time for a social media break, give up a meal each week, or refrain from course language. Just remember, fasting is about giving up things that keep you from Him, not just self-denial for your own pride of accomplishment.

GIVING: As for giving, step out of your comfort zone and connect with one of our ministry partners in Tucson, build a relationship with a neighbor in need, or search out a new way to extend yourself to the poor.

Whatever you choose this season, keep in mind that Lent is about the freedom that Christ gives us. Our free gift of salvation came at His cost. But our freedom is not for our own temporal pleasure. The freedom He offers is so much greater:

  • Freedom from self

  • Freedom from possessions

  • Freedom from ambition

I remember giving up chocolate for Lent as a little Catholic girl, and I hardly ever made it through the 6-week season without cheating on my commitment to fast. But my motivation was different then.

When we do something because we are told to do it, our hearts aren’t as invested. But choosing - well, that’s different.

I choose to celebrate Lent because I want to go deeper with my amazing Creator who loves me more than I will ever understand, who wants more for me than I can comprehend, and who calls me to a life so much greater than I can imagine.

Will you join me?


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