The season of Lent is a time when many Christians observe a period of prayer, fasting, repentance, self-denial, self-examination, and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Christ Jesus: his life, his suffering and sacrifice, his death, burial and resurrection. It will also cause us to reflect on our own lives, which is often more difficult than reflecting on the life and death of Christ. This year, Lent began on March 1. It will be observed for 40 days, reminding us of the 40-day temptation of Christ in the wilderness, where he engaged in prayer, fasting, and self-denial. (And, of course, there are other significant 40-day periods in scripture.)
There is nothing in Holy Scripture about Lent, but there is plenty about prayer, fasting, repentance, self-denial, etc.–the things many Christians do or embrace during Lent. Whether we participate in the Lenten season or not, there’s every reason to observe the elements of Lent. It will set us on a journey of spiritual renewal.
In addition to scripture about the suffering, death, burial and resurrection of Christ, there are many other passages of scripture in both the Old and New Testaments designed to lead us to true repentance and renewal. Let’s consider some of this scripture during the next few weeks.
Considering repentance in a general way is fairly easy. Repenting of specific sins is more difficult, sometimes wrenching. That’s why setting aside a time to do just that is important. It will bring us to our knees. It will cause us to bow before our God. It will attach to some of the feelings, prayers, and teachings of Jesus on our way to Easter.