Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. The Epiphany season has ended, so Christians around the globe will spend the next time period preparing spiritually for Easter. I will personally observe Lent, as I continue to order my spiritual life around the traditional church calendar.
As I prepared for Lent, I found writings from Father Thomas McKenzie with Church of the Redeemer Nashville so helpful. I hope this sample of McKenzie’s writings is beneficial as you consider participation in Lent:
What is Lent?
“Christians have symbolically followed Jesus to the desert as a way of preparing for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The forty days leading up to Easter are a time of prayer, fasting, and self-denial … During Lent, we take on spiritual disciplines. We give something up (sweets, alcohol, television, Facebook, etc.), or we take something on (special reading, serving the poor, extra financial giving, etc.). The purpose of these disciplines is not to punish ourselves for our sins. Jesus took all the punishment for us. Rather, the disciplines are meant to empty us so that the Lord may fill us.”
When is Lent?
“Lent lasts for forty days, which are counted in an odd way. If you don’t include Sundays, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. That’s because Sunday is always a feast day, a day to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection, and people don’t need to maintain their Lenten disciplines on Sundays. Lent ends at sunrise on Easter morning.”
McKenzie, Thomas. The Anglican Way: A Guidebook (Kindle Locations 1821-1829). Colony Catherine, Inc.. Kindle Edition.