Posts belonging to Category Lent



Lenten Series 2013

Today is Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of Lent. A number of years ago I wrote up a series of articles dealing with Lent that generated some good discussion. For your convenience I have posted the links to each article below.

Lenten Series:
    1. What is Lent?
    2. Should Christians Celebrate Lent?
    3. Should I Give Something Up for Lent?
    4. What is Ash Wednesday?
    5. What is Maundy Thursday?
    6. What is Good Friday?
    7. What is Easter?

Trackback: Norfolk Examiner: How can Protestant grandparents help grandchildren understand the Lenten season?

Lenten Series

This little series on Lent still gets a lot of traction after all these years. If you’ve never read it, feel free to click through the series of posts. And feel free to pass it on to others, too.

Lenten Series:
    1. What is Lent?
    2. Should Christians Celebrate Lent?
    3. Should I Give Something Up for Lent?
    4. What is Ash Wednesday?
    5. What is Maundy Thursday?
    6. What is Good Friday?
    7. What is Easter?

Lenten Series Links

Today is Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of Lent. Here are the links to a series of articles dealing with Lent that have generated some good discussion in times past. For your convenience I have posted the links to each article below.

Lenten Series:
    1. What is Lent?
    2. Should Christians Celebrate Lent?
    3. Should I Give Something Up for Lent?
    4. What is Ash Wednesday?
    5. What is Maundy Thursday?
    6. What is Good Friday?
    7. What is Easter?

Related article: Determining the Dates for Easter and Passover

Lenten Series in Paper

The Norfolk Examiner picked up my Lenten Series in an article today. Here is the link: How can Protestant grandparents help grandchildren understand the Lenten season? Thanks, Cindy, for a nice write-up!

Links to Lenten Series

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of Lent. Last year I wrote up a series of articles dealing with Lent that generated some good discussion. For your convenience I have posted the links to each article below.

Lenten Series:
    1. What is Lent?
    2. Should Christians Celebrate Lent?
    3. Should I Give Something Up for Lent?
    4. What is Ash Wednesday?
    5. What is Maundy Thursday?
    6. What is Good Friday?
    7. What is Easter?

Trackback: Norfolk Examiner: How can Protestant grandparents help grandchildren understand the Lenten season?

What is Good Friday?

Lenten Series:
    1. What is Lent?
    2. Should Christians Celebrate Lent?
    3. Should I Give Something Up for Lent?
    4. What is Ash Wednesday?
    5. What is Maundy Thursday?
    6. What is Good Friday?
    7. What is Easter?

Good Friday is the Friday before Easter. In the Eastern (Greek Orthodox) Church it is known as Great Friday. Good Friday marks the day Jesus suffered and died on the cross. It is a solemn day, commonly observed with fasting, Scripture readings and prayers. Many Good Friday services offer reflections on the final seven words of Christ from the cross.

“He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

“For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” (1 Peter 3:18)

Related post: What’s So Good about Friday?

What is Maundy Thursday?

Lenten Series:
    1. What is Lent?
    2. Should Christians Celebrate Lent?
    3. Should I Give Something Up for Lent?
    4. What is Ash Wednesday?
    5. What is Maundy Thursday?
    6. What is Good Friday?
    7. What is Easter?

Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter. This marks the day Jesus shared the Last Supper with his disciples in the Upper Room. It is also known as Chare Thursday and associated with Tenebrae (the extinguishing of candles in preparation for Good Friday).

As a kid I always thought it was “Monday Thursday,” and I am sure there are plenty of adults who still wonder what the word “Maundy” means. There are two possible origins. Most connect it to the word “command” (Latin mandatum) in John 13:34: “A new command I give you: Love one another.” Others connect it to the word “wash” (Latin mundo) and Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.

Most churches that observe Maundy Thursday celebrate the Lord’s Supper together on this night. Other common practices include holding a Passover or Seder Meal, practicing a symbolic foot washing, extinguishing candles and stripping the church of its ornamentation.

Jesus said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:15-16)

Giving Up Church for Lent

Lenten Series:
    1. What is Lent?
    2. Should Christians Celebrate Lent?
    3. What is Ash Wednesday?
    4. Should I Give Something Up for Lent?
    5. Giving Up Church for Lent

I once received a phone call from a woman who told me she would not be at church for the next several weeks. I asked her if she was going away, and she replied, “No, I’m giving up church for Lent.” I said, “Excuse me?” and she said, “I’m giving up church for Lent.” I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.” She explained that she observes Lent every year and that this year she wanted to give up something that really meant a lot to her. She loves going to church and thought that would be a perfect thing to give up for Lent. I tried to talk her out of it, but she was determined. True to her word, she didn’t come back to church until Easter Sunday. She told me later, “I really missed church. It was a big sacrifice for me.”

My thoughts? Well, I agree if you are going to give up something for God, it should be something meaningful, rather than just chocolate or American Idol. (See my earlier post: Should I Give Something Up for Lent?) But somehow I don’t think God wants you to give up things like church attendance, Bible reading, or prayer. What is the strangest thing you have ever heard someone giving up for Lent?

Should I Give Something Up for Lent?

Lenten Series:
    1. What is Lent?
    2. Should Christians Celebrate Lent?
    3. Should I Give Something Up for Lent?
    4. What is Ash Wednesday?
    5. What is Maundy Thursday?
    6. What is Good Friday?
    7. What is Easter?

Many people observe the tradition of “giving up something” for Lent. Is this something that we should practice as Christians, and if so how should we go about it? I must confess that this is not something that we practice in our own home. However, I believe it can be a good thing when done with the proper attitude and a right understanding of the Scriptures.

What is the right attitude in giving up something for Lent? First of all, we should do so in a spirit of love and humility before Christ. It is not a religious requirement, but rather, like fasting, it is something that we do voluntarily in response to God. Also, we should not think that this is a way to gain acceptance before God. Scripture is clear that we are accepted before God by faith in Jesus Christ alone, without any added works of our own. (Romans 4:5)

So what should you give up for Lent? It has been said that the only thing some people give up for Lent are their New Year’s resolutions! If you do decide to give something up for Lent, here are a few guidelines.

  1. Don’t make it something light or frivolous, something you would never miss anyway. It is an offering to the Lord, and you should consider it sacred. It is a recognition of the price Jesus paid for you. Don’t make a mockery of it. On the other hand:
  2. Don’t make it something so heavy or burdensome that you cannot follow through on it (food, water, air, etc.). The Bible encourages us to consider our vows carefully before making them. It is better not to vow at all than to make a vow and break it. (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5) Some of us would do better to apportion our sacrifice throughout the Lenten period rather than try to make it through the whole season. You might find some personal fast days between you and the Lord scattered throughout the Lenten season to be very meaningful in your spiritual life.
  3. Don’t give up something sinful for Lent. It’s not that you shouldn’t give up sin, but repentance is not seasonal. Sin must be rejected daily, all the time, not just given up for a season. Lenten offerings, like fasting, should be the temporary yielding of something good out of love for God.
  4. Don’t give up something thinking that somehow God will view you as more righteous or acceptable in his sight because of your sacrifice. If you are a believer, you can never be more accepted by God than you already are in Jesus Christ. Always remember, it is Christ’s sacrifice that makes you righteous in God’s eyes, not yours. “To obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22) God wants your heartfelt obedience far more than any sacrifice you may make for him. (Mark 12:32-33)

 
In the long run, perhaps we should think more along the lines of giving things up for the Lord rather than for Lent. What do you think?

Related post: Giving Up Church for Lent

What is Ash Wednesday?

Lenten Series:
    1. What is Lent?
    2. Should Christians Celebrate Lent?
    3. Should I Give Something Up for Lent?
    4. What is Ash Wednesday?
    5. What is Maundy Thursday?
    6. What is Good Friday?
    7. What is Easter?

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. It is a day to focus on the holiness of God and our need for repentance from sin. In Biblical times it was common for the sinner to repent in sackcloth and ashes. Sackcloth was a symbol of humility before the Lord. The ashes are a reminder of man’s mortality. God pronounced his judgment upon man in the garden after he sinned — “You shall return to the ground from which you were taken, for dust you are, and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19) Thus dust and ashes became a common element in public repentance. As Job said, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6)

The ashes on the forehead in the sign of the cross are a double reminder. The ashes remind us of our mortality due to sin. The sign of the cross is a reminder that forgiveness comes only through Jesus Christ and his death for us. It is important to remember that the ashes are only a symbol. They are meaningless apart from a genuinely repentant faith in Jesus Christ. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).

Should Christians Celebrate Lent?

Lenten Series:
    1. What is Lent?
    2. Should Christians Celebrate Lent?
    3. Should I Give Something Up for Lent?
    4. What is Ash Wednesday?
    5. What is Maundy Thursday?
    6. What is Good Friday?
    7. What is Easter?

Should Christians celebrate Lent? Some people think of Lent as a Catholic observance, but it is neither Catholic nor Protestant. Many non-Catholic churches celebrate Lent as well.

There is no specific command in the Bible to celebrate Lent or Ash Wednesday, but then there are no commands to celebrate Christmas, Good Friday or Easter either. These are simply special days which the church has set apart to remember certain aspects of our Lord’s life and to reflect on our proper response to him.

Although it is not necessary to observe Lent, there is no reason why Christians should not celebrate Lent if they so choose. It is just another way to remember our Lord Jesus and what he has done for us.

“One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” (Romans 14:5)

What is Lent?

Lenten Series:
    1. What is Lent?
    2. Should Christians Celebrate Lent?
    3. Should I Give Something Up for Lent?
    4. What is Ash Wednesday?
    5. What is Maundy Thursday?
    6. What is Good Friday?
    7. What is Easter?

The Lenten Season comprises forty days before Easter during which participating Christians prepare to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The forty days are symbolic of Christ’s forty days in the wilderness in preparation for ministry. This is traditionally a time of repentance, thoughtful reflection, and often fasting. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday.

If you look at the calendar, you will notice that there are actually forty-six days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. The six Sundays between Ash Wednesday and Easter are not included as Lenten days. This is because Sunday is the Lord’s Day, the day on which Christ rose from the dead. All Sundays are meant to be a celebration of the resurrection of Christ. By excluding the Sundays from Lent, Christians emphasize this often forgotten reason why we actually worship on Sundays. Every week we celebrate our Lord’s resurrection.