Post date: Jan 28, 2015 5:27:32 PM
Dear People of God,
The season of Lent comes fairly early this year, because Easter comes early: April 5th . Easter, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus, is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon after the Spring Equinox (March 21). So Easter can occur any Sunday between March 22 and April 25. To find Ash Wednesday, which is February 18th this year, and the beginning of Lent, we then back up 40 days from Resurrection Day, but don’t include Sundays, which are always “little Easters.” Don’t worry! There won’t be a test on this!
But why are there forty days of Lent? Well, forty is a very biblical number. Noah and family were in the ark 40 days while it poured rain. The Israelites wandered for 40 years in the wilderness while they learned to trust God. Jesus was tested for 40 days in the desert by Satan. And our Lord Jesus spent about 40 hours in the grave of death before God raised him up.
Lent is a time to be intentional about our faith walk with Jesus. Lent is a time to struggle against everything that gets in the way of our loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Repenting of our sins, prayer, fasting, worship, Bible study and works of love and charity are some of the disciplines of Lent. These are ways to help us draw closer to God. They are not ways to earn God’s love and salvation. Forgiveness, life and salvation are always God’s free and gracious gift to us through Jesus Christ. But the disciplines of Lent are ways to be intentional about our faith walk with our Savior Jesus. We journey with Jesus to Jerusalem to his trial, his cross and his grave. We think on the extreme sacrifice Jesus gave to save us from sin, death and evil. Then when Easter comes we shall be able to celebrate his resurrection and life with true joy!
Everyone is invited to begin the season of Lent with worship at 7 pm on Ash Wednesday, February 18th. The imposition of ashes will be offered and the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated. Since Old Testament times, ashes have been an outward sign of inner repentance. Lent is a time to, “Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Joel 2:13.