Tag Archives: Ash Wednesday

What is Lent?

I just came home from our church’s Ash Wednesday service, with some charcoal on my forehead, reminding me and others around me of our own mortality.

I know that many evangelical Christians do not celebrate Ash Wednesday, or the season of Lent, for that matter, because it is not directly taught within the Bible. I can understand that, but the unfortunate rumors that the season of Lent has pagan roots is without foundation. Instead, the practice of Lent is thoroughly grounded in a tradition begun in the early church, for which traditionally-minded liturgical churches continue to celebrate, along with a growing number of evangelical churches. So while the specific practice of Lent is not mentioned in the Bible, the concepts of repentance and self-examination as we prepare our hearts to meet the crucified and risen Christ celebrated on Easter Sunday are most definitely grounded in Scripture.

For more on the history of Ash Wednesday and Lent, see this Veracity posting from last year. Columbia Publishing House, an arm of the Missouri-Synod Lutheran Church, produced the following video, a short under-3-minute introduction to what Lent is all about:

HT: Gene Veith’s Cranach blog at Patheos.com

 


Ash Wednesday and Lent

As John mentioned yesterday, he and I have been invited to blog our way through the season of Lent, with a group of fellow believers in our local community of faith. I thought it might be nice to first reflect on where “Lent” came from. We hope you enjoy these posts….

Lessons in Lent

Gregory the Great (540-604) dictating the Gregorian chant Gregory the Great (540-604)        dictating the Gregorian chant

The period of Lent, derived from a 14 century English word for “springtime”, has a long history within Christianity.  In the first few centuries of the Christian movement, believers would spend several days in fasting and preparation for the celebration of the Resurrection at Easter. The Lenten period was eventually extended to forty days, but it got its biggest boost from the sixth century bishop of Rome, Gregory the Great (540-604).  Gregory moved the beginning of Lent to what many Christians now call “Ash Wednesday”, establishing “Lent” as an important period in the yearly calendar of the Western Christian church.

The Chapel is a diverse community of faith, and so the idea of “Lent” for some may sound a little weird, or simply “a bit too Catholic”. So perhaps it might be some consolation to you to know…

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