The Lenten Calender
Lent is about the Gospel. It is a time to narrow the focus of the Church to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, to turn from our sin and trust in His atoning work.
The season of Lent lasts approximately 40 days, excluding Sundays, between Ash Wednesday (date) and Easter Sunday (date). The 40 days have biblical parallel in the flood narrative (Gen. 6-8), the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exod. 24:12-18), Elijah’s journey to Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:1-12) and Jesus’ fasting and temptation in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11, Mark 1:9-12, Luke 4:1-13). The last of these accounts is most relevant to the season.
Originally a preparation period for those desiring to be baptized, Lent eventually became embedded into Christian tradition as a season for the Church to symbolically follow Christ into the wilderness. It is a time for fasting. It is a period to empty ourselves of lesser things so that we might be filled with the greater things of the gospel.
In our context, it is easy to get lost in the cultural expectations of Easter and miss out on the meaning. Lent is a reminder that the resurrection only occurred after the crucifixion. Rather than skipping over the ministry and crucifixion of Christ, Lent is a season to prepare ourselves for the joy of Resurrection Sunday as we enter the sorrow and pain which preceded it.