In a culture dominated by "I want it now!" Lent is a time to slow down and change our focus.
These 40 days of Lent
By Dr. David Weyrick
Lent begins in February. Lent is the 40 days before Easter, not counting Sundays. It is a time of repentance and denial of self which begins on Ash Wednesday.
Lent is kind of early this year. Some trivia about the Lenten calendar:
The earliest it can be is February 4, which would put Easter on March 22, which happened in 1573, 1668, 1761 and 1818.
The latest date is March 10 (when Easter falls on April 25) which occurred in 1546, 1641, 1736, 1886 and 1943.
Lent will begin on February 29 in 2096 if you care to wait.
The basic rule for determining Easter is that it occurs on the first Sunday after the first ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or after March 21. The beginning date, March 21st, was chosen because it is usually the vernal equinox (generally, the first day of spring). This means that the earliest day of the year that Easter can occur is, of course, March 22. Also, because of the regularity of lunar cycles, it can never occur later than April 25th.
Many Christians will have ashes placed on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday as a reminder of humility and denial. Many Christians will fast from certain foods or deny themselves certain things during this time. During Lent, Christians are also called to examine their lives and repent where necessary. Christians are to reflect on what it cost their Savior to save them: His crucifixion.
Our church will host its Ash Wednesday service on February 13 at 7:00 p.m. We will celebrate the Sacrament of Communion and offer ashes. This will also start my Lenten series, “Imitators of Christ.”
Christ made it clear there are behaviors believers are to both refrain from performing and to perform when He said, "Do not do this," or "Do this." The Lenten series will explain seven "do nots" and how to put them into practice. Then, beginning on Easter Sunday, we will examine the “dos.”
I need Lent. I need the whole idea of Lent with its reflection and fasting. I need to focus more on Jesus and less on me. I need to focus more on others and how well I love them. I need to deny myself.
Our culture is fixated on having things and having them now. This utter obsession with the instantaneous and immediate can be seen all around us. We want instant food, television programs on demand, instant messages, faster texts, and hyper-speed downloads of music, films, or books. We don't wait anymore. We don't slow down. Whether it's food or pleasure, possessions or entertainment, we expect to have them all now—right now.
It's all about us.
But what would happen if, at least for 40 days, we all slowed down and instead of concentrating on "us," we concentrated on Christ. What would happen if we truly imitated Him? I would like to explore that idea. How about you?