Lent is a period of repentance and preparation for Easter (the word lent comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word that means “spring”). In Western churches it begins on Ash Wednesday and continues 46 days, until Easter. It traditionally includes a 40-day fast (Sundays are excluded) in remembrance of Christ’s fasting in the wilderness before he began His public ministry.
During Lent we reorient, realign and turn our attention—heart, mind, and desires—back to Jesus and His redemption. We intentionally step into practices that help us abide with Christ as a community.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener… Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
– John 15:1; 4-5
Imago Dei-led Opportunity: Our spring season of Jesus Academy includes two courses focused on reading and learning Scripture. Learn more and sign up.
Fasting creates a spiritual rhythm of expectation & fulfillment. Physical longing draws us into spiritual longing to seek God in all our need.
There are many types of fasts:
We abide together as one body, not in isolation. We journey together and support each other in our weaknesses and strengths.
Repentant & Humble
Lent is indeed a time to consider our own frailty and mortality and ask for mercy and forgiveness. However, that is not its end. Lent points us not toward ourselves but toward Christ.
Expectant & Joyful
…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.
– Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)
Yes, Lent points toward the cross, but ultimately it leads to Easter and Christ’s triumph over death, brokenness and sin.
Focused on Christ
We do not focus merely on our practices and the longings they reveal, but on God’s faithfulness and presence in our redemption.
The caricature of Lent depicts one who is beaten and overwhelmed by their own sin, as if that is the final word, but Lent is a time to consider ourselves in light of God’s great love and sacrifice toward us. We are not worms; we are beloved children pursued and restored.
9 Tips & Tricks for a Lenten Fast: Jordan Green, an Imago Dei writer and community member, shares his practice and insights for engaging in a Lenten fast.
40: A Video of Jesus in the Wilderness: A visual & musical interpretation of how Christ might have experienced the wilderness.
A Way Other Than Our Own: Devotions for Lent: By
Walter Brueggemann. God has always called people out of their safe, walled cities into uncomfortable places, revealing paths they would never have chosen. Despite our culture of self-indulgence, we too are called to walk an alternative path, one of humility, justice, and peace.
The Daniel Fast: One approach to fasting during Lent, modeled from the vow Daniel and his friends make in captivity to devote their lives and bodies to the Lord.
Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter: Includes writings from C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Philip Yancey, Frederick Buechner, Madeleine L’Engle, Henri J. M. Nouwen, Dorothy Day, Augustine, Kathleen Norris, Meister Eckhart, Kahlil Gibran, Soren Kierkegaard and more.
Rice & Beans Month with Lahash: As a global community, we simplify our meals during March (or Lent) to eat in solidarity with hungry kids in East Africa. Then we joyfully share our savings to help feed them!
Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter: By Laura Alary. Lent can be hard for children. It travels through frightening places loaded with themes of self-denial and death. How can children approach this season in a way that is meaningful and not scary? Make Room presents Lent as a special time for creating a welcoming space for God.
Amon’s Adventure: A Family Story for Easter: By
Arnold Ytreeide. With short, exciting chapters, reflections for family devotions and advice for making Lent a meaningful experience, Amon’s Adventure will help families discover anew the spiritual power of the resurrection story.
Resurrection Eggs: Read the story together, open each egg, and find the surprise inside—each a symbol of Jesus’ journey to the cross.
Cradle to Cross Wreath: Walk alongside the cross-laden Christ as He journeys to Calvary. Light a candle each day or move one candle along the wreath, and invite your whole family into keeping company with Christ during the Lenten season.