Last year as we were preparing to celebrate Resurrection Sunday, we delved into the stories of those involved with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and entitled the presentations “Portraits of the Passion.”
This year we are joining our more liturgical brethren and adding a “Lent-Event” during our worship services leading up to Easter.
Lent is a period of fasting, service, and prayer traditionally observed by Catholics as a way to remind themselves of the value of repentance. Lent means “spring” and has changed over the years since it’s inception in 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicea. But its purpose has always been the same: self-examination and penitence, demonstrated by self-denial, in preparation for Easter. The focus of the Lenten season was seen as similar to how people in the Old Testament fasted and repented in sackcloth and ashes (Daniel 9:3).
Many people believe that “giving something up for Lent” is a way to attain God’s blessing. But the Bible teaches that grace cannot be earned; grace is “the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17).
However, we are to practice self-denial (Luke 9:23), and God is pleased when we repent of sinful habits.
So, our focus will be on giving up on those things that do not honor God: hate and fear; worldliness; lies; pride; unbelief; and an unforgiving spirit. This is our way of “laying aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, to run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1).