“Preparing Our Hearts for Easter”
What is Lent? The word “Lent” comes from the Old English word “lengten,” which simply means “spring” — when the days lengthen and new life springs forth. It is a time in which we anticipate the victory of the light and life of Christ over the darkness of sin and death. It is, to borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis, a season of a kind of “happiness and wonder that makes you serious.”
Lent is about the gospel. It is a time to narrow the focus of the Church to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, to turn from our sin and trust in His atoning work. The season of Lent lasts approximately 40 days, excluding Sundays, between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. The 40 days have obvious biblical parallels in the flood narrative (Gen. 6-8), the giving of the Law to Moses on Sinai (Exod. 24:12-18), Elijah’s journey to Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:1-12) and Jesus’ fasting and temptation in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11, Mark 1:9-12, Luke 4:1-13). The last of these accounts is most relevant to the season.
Originally a preparation period for those desiring to be baptized, Lent eventually became embedded into Christian tradition as a season for the Church to symbolically follow Christ into the wilderness. It is a time for fasting and self-denial, though not for denial itself. It is a period to empty ourselves of lesser things so that we might be filled with the greater things of the gospel. Whereas Advent is a season of ever-increasing light awaiting the incarnation of Christ, Lent is a season of ever-decreasing light approaching the cross.
It is our prayer that as you journey with us from Ash Wednesday to Easter, you would be reminded of the reality of our broken humanity, but as days grow brighter, you would experience with greater abundance the reality of God’s redeeming grace. And so, just as we carefully prepare for big events in our personal lives, such as a wedding or commencement, Lent invites us to make our hearts ready for remembering Jesus’ death and resurrection.
O Lord and Master of my life!
Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness,
lust of power and idle talk.
But give me rather the spirit of chastity, humility,
patience and love to my servant.
Yea, O Lord and King!
Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother;
for thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.
A COMMON FOURTH-CENTURY PRAYER OF LENT FROM ST. EPHREM THE SYRIAN
We have compiled some great resources from a few different churches to give you some great resources for the days of lent. We hope you will join us on this journey.