Season of Lent
Meaning of Lent

Season of Lent
by Julia Bruton-Sheppard

The word lent initially simply meant spring and derives from the Germanic root for long because in the spring the days visibly lengthen. The season of Lent is a forty-day period before Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday. Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Christian can take stock of those areas in the soul that is not Christ-like, seek forgiveness and the power to repent, to turn away from and receive the renewing, healing power of God.

Lent originated in the earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism. By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus' withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days. We skip Sundays when we count the forty days, because Sundays commemorate the Resurrection.

Color of Lent
In antiquity, purple dye was very difficult to make and therefore very expensive, so purple came to signify wealth, power, and royalty. Therefore purple is the color for the seasons of Advent and Lent, which celebrate the coming of the King. Since as Christians we prepare for our King through reflection and repentance, purple has also become a penitential color (of regret and apology).

Lent is characterized by the practice of fasting, whereby we "imitate Christ" in His wilderness experience. The fasting can take on form of sacrificing from or sacrificing for. We can give up creature comforts for personal benefit. Or we can sacrifice time to provide creature comforts for someone else. Either way, remember, forty days is all it takes to change a mind set and our behavior. We can be healed of a negative habit and develop a new, good habit through fasting.

"My Time of Lent"
I used to give up things of excess for Lent,
Even before I truly knew what it meant.
A time of sacrifice and fasting and reflection
It should be,
But after it is over more times than not
I'm the same old me.

Then I started to focus on who Lent was all about,
I thought about Jesus, my Savior and my heart began to shout.
So I stopped worrying about losing a few pounds,
And began to pray to be a better servant and
Wait for His orders to come down.
For my time of Lent is not just about me,
It's a time for me to have a closer walk with Thee.

Deacon Calvin Austin ©March 2009

Lectionary Texts for the Season of Lent

Ash Wednesday
February 17, 2010: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

First Sunday in Lent
February 21, 2010: Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16; Romans 10:8b-13 Luke 4:1-13

Second Sunday in Lent
February 28, 2010: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 13:31-35 or Luke 9:28-36, (37-43)

Third Sunday in Lent
March 7, 2010: Isaiah 55:1-9; Psalm 63:1-8 1; Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9

Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 14, 2010: Joshua 5:9-12; Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

Fifth Sunday in Lent
March 21, 2010: Isaiah 43:16-21; Psalm 126; Philippians 3:4b-14; John 12:1-8

Liturgy of the Palms
March 28, 2010: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Luke 19:28-40
Liturgy of the Passion
March 28, 2010: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 22:14-23:56 or Luke 23:1-49

Return from Season of Lent to Seasonal Devotions.

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