Celebrating the Lenten Season
By Jim Kirchner, Campus Pastor
This coming Wednesday, we enter into the Lenten season. Lent is a time set aside for Christians to remember and honor the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ which ultimately gives way to the hope of the Resurrection, celebrated on Easter.
This important part of the Church calendar begins with what is known as “Ash Wednesday”. Ash Wednesday introduces Lent by focusing the Christian’s heart on repentance and recognition of their sin and need for a Savior. Many Christians also display a physical representation of the day by participating by attending church and receiving a mark of ashes in the shape of the cross on their foreheads, which represents our reality as humans – “from dust you came and from dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).
The rest of the Lenten season is often marked by a time of fasting for followers of Jesus. We fast from the entanglements of the world that we might better focus on the Lord Jesus Christ and the incredible sacrifice that He made on our behalf.
This Lenten season let us join with our fellow believers from around the world through prayer and fasting as we identify with Jesus heading to the cross in this long-standing tradition. As we fast, we put our energy into being in God’s Presence, seeking and praising the Lord Jesus every day. Psalm 16:11 reminds us that “in His presence there is fullness of joy”.
Whether or not you attend an Ash Wednesday service, you can participate in the spirit of the Lenten season through readings and prayers like this one from The Book of Common Prayer: “Almighty and everlasting God, who hates nothing that you have made, and does forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts …. That we may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”