Lent is a time of reflection in anticipation of Holy Week and Easter. Traditionally, it was a time of fasting and focus on God’s redemptive power through Christ. It was also a time of preparation for confirmands and those preparing for baptism (on Easter Sunday). Lastly, it was a time of repentance and hope for those who had sinned to rejoin the church body.
It is generally accepted that Lent started in 325 in the aftermath of the Council of Nicea. The earliest observances seem to have focused primarily on fasting. In the modern era there is a very secular focus on “Fat Tuesday” or Mardi Gras which is the day before Ash Wednesday and was historically a time when sugar, butter, and other items that would be avoided for the 40 days of Lent would be consumed in great quantities. This is not unlike the secular practice of Halloween which is the day before All Saints Day. Even churches advertise Pancake Suppers over their Ash Wednesday service – fun over fasting.
Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, and others celebrate Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Pentecostal and some Baptist churches, which are generally less liturgical, and less Tradition bound do not observe Ash Wednesday or Lent.
I hope you are able to join me at 7:00 p.m. for a traditional Ash Wednesday service on February 22nd.
Rev. Curtis Ehrgott