Lent is just around the corner for Covenant, and members and visitors can look forward to Holy Week Services, Easter Sunday and more. But what does Lent really mean in a Christian life?
While historians are unsure of when Lent actually started, many believe it began sometime around the second century B.C. as a time for converts to prepare for their baptism. New Christians would use the time for penitence for their former life, but because of its establishment in the church, Lent started to show all Christians how to become aware of their own imperfections. Lent quickly became a time for Christians to recognize their own shortcomings and to be sorrowful for their sins as they recognize that Jesus was and is the only way for them to overcome their sinful ways.
In The Mennonite, a monthly magazine published by the Mennonite Church USA, Marlene Kropf wrote, “In the daily round of life, dust and cobwebs accumulate in our souls. The hidden corners of our hearts become encrusted with grime or filled with forgotten debris. During the weeks of Lent, God’s Spirit is given opportunity to clear away the clutter, sweep away the dust and wash us clean. We are invited to prepare ourselves heart, soul, mind and body for the new life of Easter.”
Covenant views Lent as an important time in the cycle of the Christian seasons for some of the very same reasons that Kropf mentioned. As a Christian, it is important to take stock of your frailty and infirmity and raise this up to God for redemption.
In some denominations, this is symbolically done through either denying oneself of an otherwise common practice or by adding an act of sacrificial service to your daily schedule. Covenant does not focus on these practices, but instead asks its members to use this time to remember the sacrifice that God made and what it means in their daily lives.
To help the congregation move through this important time, the church will hold several special services throughout the Lenten season, beginning on Ash Wednesday with services at noon and in the evening. During Holy Week, Covenant will offer services daily beginning on Palm Sunday and ending on the evening of Good Friday. We will offer several services on Easter Sunday.
So when you’re celebrating the season this year, take time to reflect on just how blessed you are to have such a forgiving Father.
What does Lent mean to you? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll publish it in the next edition of Cornerstone!