Lent is a practice that has been around for hundreds of years. While many within contemporary Evangelicalism are rediscovering this period of reflection and renewed focus on the grace of God, I think it might be a good refresher to provide some resources about this period. As Christianity Today reminded us, Lent is a time for grave reflection and forgiveness that leads to reconciliation and Christ-centered joy.
While I have written about Lent elsewhere, I thought it might be better to have some professionals explain it. If you are interested in the Scriptural and historical development of Lent and Ash Wednesday, visit this great article. Also see this post from 2010 that provides a great historical overview as well, taken from a book about Easter traditions. While those who visit liturgical churches on Ash Wednesday will receive ash on their forehead (symbolizing repentance and mortality), I would encourage others to consider partaking in this act and 40 day period of reflection in preparation for Easter.
Lent and Ash Wednesday reminds us of our own frailty. We are reminded that we are dust, and to dust we shall all one day return (Gen 3:19). Nevertheless, in the bad news of our condition, we are given a glimpse of hope. The ash placed on the forehead is in the form of a cross, and it is the reminder of the good news that, though we might be crushed by our enemies (as the psalmists often reminds us), we can look to the “founder and perfecter of the faith” for ultimate preservation.
So consider this a humble invitation to join in the historical Church’s practice of Lent. Dig deep in the historical roots of our faith, I hope you consider it!
Question for you: Do you observe Lent? Why or why not?