Lent is a spiritual commitment that Christians of certain denominations practice in preparation for Easter. Lent is about walking closer with God, practicing prayer, fasting and generosity. This post covers the purpose of lent and why it is such a holy time.
Lent is a practice observed by some Christians. The holy month of lent is when an item of food is given up (not eaten) throughout the month. Lent is a time to reflect on earthly desires, sinful nature and what Jesus did for us, His sacrifice for our sins.
Insights and Overview
The Lenten season usually begins in March and ends in April, spanning over 40 days. During this time, individuals try to do things the “right” way and try to be better Christians. This will involve prayer, fasting, kindness, and sharing generously with others.
In earlier years, it is said that new Christians observed Lent as a process before their baptism. During their spiritual growth leading up to their baptism, they would also fast for 40 days, symbolic of how Christ fasted 40 days and nights in the desert.
Easter eve would be their baptism if they felt after the 40 days that they wanted to continue following and practicing the Christian faith.
How Jesus Christ Set An Example
Christians follow the example of Christ and the way he lived when he walked the earth. This is one of the main goals of being a Christian. Jesus, the Son of God fasted in preparation for his next step, which was to become the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.
It wasn’t easy for Christ, as He too was hungry, and after he fasted, he was tempted by the devil. According to scripture in Matthew 4:2 “…If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread..” to which Jesus answered and said, “man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God…” You can read the entire verse in that section in Matthew 4:1-11 entire verse in that section.
Many churches celebrate Lenten season, but mostly the denominations Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christians and Anglicans observe lent. During Lent, everyone also abstains from eating meat; some devoted Catholics may also give up earthly pleasures.
Comparing Similar Religious Traditions To Lenten Season
Lent (estimated February-April) traditionally starts after ash Wednesday, depending on which day Easter takes place each year. Easter occurs after the first Sunday after the first full moon at the beginning of Spring. This usually occurs in April. Lent is predicted to start the 22 February 2023.
The Jewish celebrate Passover, which also occurs in Spring on the first full moon. Their celebration commemorates the Hebrews’ liberation from the oppression and captivity of Egypt. Passover starts in the Hebrew month of Nissan on the 15th day, around April. The Passover is predicted to begin on 5 April 2023.
In Islam, the Muslims also observe a period of fasting, prayer and abstinence from worldly pleasures. It is called Ramadan. Ramadan occurs on a date based on a crescent moon sighting in the East, in Saudi Arabia. The date can differ depending on where in the world you live (hemisphere). It is also predicted to be between March and April of 2023.
Other Symbolic Meaning Of Lent And Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday is symbolic of the fact that we are human and go back to ashes when we die. “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust” in the scripture reading Genesis 3:19 “…By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground; for out of it you were taken; for you are dust and to dust you shall return”. Nobody is powerful without God’s help; through Christ, we have redemption.
On Ash Wednesday, the ash is placed in the shape of a cross on the foreheads of the congregation. The ash is from burnt palm leaves.
The color purple
In the old days, purple was worn by royalty, and they could afford purple robes during the practice of lent. Purple also represents sadness and sorrow as Jesus suffered and died for our sins. Those who crucified the Lord mocked him and dressed him in a purple robe in a gesture of royalty.
Burning of incense
Incense is symbolic of prayer and also in Biblical scripture. Incense is thus burnt during lent and days of fasting and prayer.
Since meat is given up during lent, it includes abstaining from consuming fish. Fish is eaten on the Good Friday of the easter weekend.
The egg has many meanings in other cultures, but in Christianity, it serves as a symbolic reminder of the empty tomb in which Jesus was buried. After he rose, the stone covering the tomb was rolled away, and the time, like the hollow eggs, was empty.
Fasting In Lent
To fast during lent can be seen as a spiritual discipline, and it is a process that benefits anyone who practices in this manner. A spiritual fast is a type of abstinence from certain food, but it’s not just food, it’s also a spiritual move incorporating your mind and body as well as the way you treat others. The fast is also about abstaining from anything that might distract you from your spiritual goals.
Following this strict routine can focus on your spirituality and strengthen it. You will also find that the benefits of spiritual fasting are not just limited to:
- Physical health.
- It may help you find inner peace as well.
- Increasing your ability to focus on spirituality.
- Mental clarity.
- Ability to be calmer in heightened stress periods.
- Spiritual freedom.
What do you do during lent?
When Lent begins, people reflect on the life of Christ and how He lived. It is a time when Christians will fast and pray to reconcile with God, giving up certain foods like flesh, meat and fast as a means of sacrifice until Easter. Easter is celebrated, and Christians remember the sacrifice of God’s son for the sins of the world. During the crucifixion, Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead in the resurrection.
What should I sacrifice for Lent?
During lent, many people give up the foods and drinks they most enjoy, like coffee, sweet treats, treats and alcohol, to name a few. It is almost always that eating meat would also be avoided during this month.
How long do you give up for lent?
Lent fasting takes place over 40 days.
While lent is usually only observed by some Christian denominations, that doesn’t mean that folks of other religious practices cannot partake in this holy time. Fasting and prayer have always been good means of strength as it helps us cope with various challenges faced in life.