Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with the commemoration of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday.
Our English word “Lent” comes from the Anglo–Saxon word for "lengthen" and refers to the lengthening days of spring. The season is a preparation for the celebration of Easter.
Originally, Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation by converts to Christianity for baptism. Even in modern days, Lectionary readings during Lent tend to focus on baptism and discipleship, in continuity with the season’s original purpose.
Over time, Lent has evolved into a time of penance, self-denial, and reflection by Christians. Nowadays, throughout the 40 days of Lent, many protestant Christians prepare for the celebration of Easter by undertaking acts of fasting, self-sacrifice (giving something up), giving, and prayer.
And, because Sundays are always "little Easters," the penitential and self-denying spirit of Lent is tempered each Sunday with joyful expectation of the Resurrection!
We invite you to dive deeper into this beautiful season by exploring Today's devotions and blog posts about Lent.
Today wishes you a prayerful, meaningful, and transformative Lent
What is Lent?
By Robin Basselin
Growing up, I went to a church that nominally celebrated the season of Lent. The pastor usually said something about Lent on the Sunday after Ash Wednesday, but that was about it. Sometime during my college years, our church began holding an annual Ash Wednesday service. Like Christians around the world, my forehead would receive the black, cross-shaped mark created from the ash of last year's Palm Sunday branches. But even after my church started observing Ash Wednesday, there was rarely ever mention of Lent again until the kick-off of Holy Week nearly 6 weeks later. Over the years, I intuitively picked up bits and pieces of information about the meaning and purpose of Lent, but like many other evangelicals, I was never directly taught what Lent was all about. For those of you that are like me, let's see if we can plow through some of the basics of this important season of the church calendar...
» Read What is Lent?
What are Ash Wednesday and Lent All About?
By Steven Koster
When I was in college, someone handed me a nail on a leather string during a worship service. Students on my campus were wearing the nail around their necks in the weeks before Easter to remind themselves of their sin. The nail was to remind me not only that my sin needs a savior, but also that my sin too caused Jesus to be nailed to the cross. This was my introduction to the idea of Lent, and it was powerful preparation for an Easter celebration.
9 Lenten Terms You Should Know
By Robin Basselin
As I noted in my article "What is Lent?," I grew up in a church that nominally observed the season of Lent. We certainly celebrated Palm Sunday and Easter, but Ash Wednesday and adamant fasting? Not so much. Even when we did begin observing other Lenten practices, like Ash Wednesday, I still did not always understand the significance. So, if you too have a vague understanding of what Lent is all about, I hope these Lenten terms will help you fill in the gaps...
Three Good Reasons Why More Evangelicals Observe Lent
In the past several years, it seems that more and more evangelicals have begun to observe Lent, a season of about six weeks before Good Friday. Lent is a time traditionally set aside for fasting, prayer, and reflection to focus on the hope of Jesus Christ through his death on the cross and his resurrection. Many have viewed Lent as a primarily Catholic or Orthodox tradition. And yet, this growing interest in Lent among evangelicals has been both corporate and individual. Corporately, for example, churches from various denominations, whether Reformed or Southern Baptist, have put increasing emphasis on Lent in their liturgies. While at the same time, many evangelical Christians quietly observe Lent on their own. I see three key motivators for this increased interest by evangelicals.
Let the Today Devotional be your guide in this season of Lent.
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