Cross, The Symbol of Easter
Lent is a 40-day Period of Religious Preparation for Christians Who Celebrate Easter.
It is a time for Christians to:
- Remember the 40 days of Fasting by Jesus in the Desert. The Holy Spirt led Jesus to be tempted by Satan.
- Recognize their mortality.
- Christians take time to repeat for past sins and transgressions.
- They take time to come closer to God by prayer, reading, and Biblical study.
- It is also a time to recognize the precious gift of life, and how we can best serve the Creator and his son Jesus.
What are Ashes Made of and Why do Christian wear Ashes on Ash Wednesday?
Ashes are a sign to Christians of their mortality. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust
- Jesus entered Jerusalem with his Disciples to celebrate Passover (a traditional Jewish Holiday.
- He was welcomed by his followers with Palm Leaves placed in front of the donkey he rode as he entered the city.
- Ashes are made from palm leaves. They were collected, blessed, burned, and then mixed with oil.
- Ashes are applied to the forehead or the hand by a member of the clergy. Ashes are to be a reminder of sin and resurrection and often directs Christian to feel sorrow for their sins.
What does Mardi Gras have to do with Easter and Lent?
- Mardi Gras is known as Fat Tuesday. It is the last day to celebrate before Lent with favorite foods and drinks. This is an eat, drink, and party day. In New Orleans, and other cities, it is a day of parades and fun for everyone.
- Often people use Fat Tuesday to clear out their pantries of food that they want to give up but might be tempted by such as sugar, sweets, or alcohol.
- The next day is Ash Wednesday. Christians attend church and ashes are placed on the forehead or back of the hand in a cross design. This reminds a Christian that Jesus died on the Cross to wash away their sins and give them a new life. This is the day that Christians choose to sacrifice something they love.
What Sacrifices are Required During Lent?
- During each week of Lent, Christians may decide to have a meatless day and substitute meat that day with fish or a vegetarian meal.
- Some people Fast for hours or days. A Christian may fast by only drinking tea for 24 hours. Others choose to Fast for longer time periods.
- They give up something as a sacrifice in remembrance of Jesus giving up his life for all of humankind on the cross.
- Although when the practice of the Lenten season began people focused on Fasting or giving up certain foods for the entire forty day.
- Today Some people give up their favorite foods on a more limited basis.
- Others may stop watching TV or a favorite program.
- Others choose to give up something they enjoy doing daily.
What Else is Required of Christians During Lent?
Not only do Christians give up something they love, but often choose to reach out to their communities.
- Service is an option but does not take the place of a sacrifice.
- Christians reconsider their baptism into their Christian faith.
- Collecting Food for others
- Do volunteer work.
- Tutor someone
- Or help someone who may have fallen on challenging times.
- Give to Charity
Study is an option
Read and study the Bible
- Read a devotional book.
- Pray for others
When did Lent begin?
- It is believed that lent began sometime between the death of Jesus and the death of the last apostle. That would be 33 AD – 100 AD.
- It was formalized in 325 AD at the 1st Council of Nicaea.
- It became widely practiced in/after 590 AD with the Roman Catholic Church.
- Many other denominations of Christianity now celebrate Lent with a few or all the traditions.
Twenty percent of Protestants and
Sixty-one percent of Catholics observes Lent.
Lent ends in Observance of Holy Week
Holy Week includes:
- Palm Sunday
- the Sunday before Easter,
- Maundy Thursday which remembers the last supper of Jesus with his disciplines
- Good Friday (called Holy Friday and Black Friday. The day of Jesus’ crucifixion)
- Easter Sunday. The day Jesus rose from the dead.