Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Discussion on Lent

There are many believers who do not practice Lent. I was wondering how those who practice Lent would describe it to those who do not know what it is all about.

I would love for us to discuss the following questions:

What is the Lent Season? Why practice it? Why not? What does Lent do for believers? What does it not do? If you practice this tradition, how it helped your life?

What do you think?

Share your thoughts.


Blogger Jeff Pinyan (japhy) said...

What is the Lent season? ~ Lent is a period of about 40 days before Easter (Pascha). The length (40) was inspired by Jesus' fasting in the desert after his baptism, as well as other periods of 40 days of fasting found in Scripture (e.g. Moses, Elijah). It is a season spent preparing for (or remembering) baptism; it is a penitential time wherein prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are emphasized.

The name "Lent" is a distinctly Anglo-Saxon name which comes from "Lencten" meaning "Spring" (which coincides with part of the liturgical season of Lent). Romance languages derive the name for Lent from the Latin word quadragesima ("forty days").

Why practice it? ~ The early Church practiced a pre-Pasch fast, although the length of this fast was perhaps not settled until the second or third century. It is practiced to better prepare ourselves to celebrate the Paschal mystery of Christ's Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

What does Lent do for believers? ~ It reminds them of their baptism and the new life in Christ that they have been called to. It reminds them of the need for a deep life of prayer. It moves them to works of charity (generally referred to as "almsgiving") because no one can say he loves God who does not love his neighbor. It challenges them with fasting (and abstinence from meat) for two primary reasons: to redirect their attention to their hunger for God, and to keep them mindful of those who go without such luxuries not out of choice but out of necessity.

What does it not do? ~ It doesn't do anything that we are not moved by God's grace to let it do! Going through motions isn't enough. Just getting ashes on your head (today) doesn't mean anything if you are not motivated by love of God.

How has Lent helped my life? ~ Lent has helped me grow closer to God by giving me a season to examine myself, where I am at in my relationship with Jesus Christ, what my strengths and weaknesses are. I spend more time reading (be it Scripture or other devotionals). I use it as a time of reinforcing helpful spiritual disciplines (such as daily Mass attendance and fasting). It re-orients me to God.

I strongly recommend reading Pope Benedict's Lenten message for 2009.

Other helpful links: Catholic Answers, Catholic Education.

10:03 PM  
Blogger David Kirk said...

I ought to give up blogging for Lent. Have a great day preacherman!

10:19 AM  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

I've never understood the antipathy in some circles to recognizing the traditional church calendar. Isn't this precisely the kind of thing Paul discusses in Rom. 14, especially v. 5?

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul also says later in that same chapter if we do observe days to shut up about such trivial things as "holy dazes" and "feast food".

4:04 PM  
Blogger Royce Ogle said...

From today's issue of Edward Fudge's gracEmail: "This past Wednesday in many Christian traditions was Ash Wednesday. It is the first day of Lent, a 40-day period (not counting Sundays) of repentance and prayer that ends in the victorious climax of Easter Sunday. Some churches ignore, avoid or even oppose the liturgical church calendar because it is not mentioned in the New Testament. However, a person would be hard pressed to object to the traditional themes and details those special days incorporate -- words and actions that are solidly biblical and spiritually strengthening as well, when celebrated with faith resting on Jesus Christ and undergirded by the atonement he has accomplished once for all.
The Episcopal liturgy for Ash Wednesday is typical of others, in which those assembled pray: "Almighty God, You have created us out of the dust of the earth: Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, that we may remember that it is only by your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen." The minister (or other officiant) then makes with ashes a small cross on each person's forehead while saying: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
The deed and the declarations harmonize, with each other and also with basic biblical truths. Truths that many Christians, bewitched by the death-denying mentality of our thoroughly-secular culture, avoid and even obscure. According to the Bible, death is not our friend but our enemy -- an enemy which Jesus came dying to destroy. Resurrection, not death, is the believer's doorway into immortality. And Scripture, for the most part, pictures all believers experiencing resurrection together at Jesus' final appearing, not going through the process one by one at the moments of their individual deaths. A few isolated verses might suggest otherwise, but 1 Corinthians 15 is the most detailed chapter on this topic and it portrays what I have said above."


11:29 PM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

This year I am fasting sorrow for Lent.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Keith Brenton said...

This is the first year in several that I haven't planned to observe Lent ... partly because I'm taking kind of a jubilee year to focus on Christ, especially on the part of his ministry on which John concentrates in his gospel.

I figure if the Israelites could have a year of rest every forty-nine, then I'm overdue by a few!

But in the past, I've been blessed by the fast and the focus - and I encourage anyone who's intrigued by it to share in its blessing.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Foggy Blogger said...

I'm afraid my observane of Lent depends upon my community. If my community observes it, then i'm more likely to. But then again most of theology is centered around community.

Lent has a long tradition that i respect and have found in the past for it to be helpful with my spiritual growth. This year instead of giving up, i'm growing up and am trying to work on getting better at various spiritual practices, so far im having mixed success.

1:06 AM  
Blogger Dew of Hermon said...

In my childhood the unerstanding I had as a Catholic was that Lent was a period of self-denial in atonement for my sins.Since finding Christ, I consider this understanding to be un Biblical and like much of 'religious' practise has an appearance of godliness but in actuality denies the power of God.Lent is yet another ploy to disable the wonderful working of God's rich and undesered Grace.

6:21 AM  
Blogger Jeff Pinyan (japhy) said...

Hermon - Regarding Lent being "a period of self-denial in atonement for my sins", the Church considers it a time of self-denial in a spirit of contrition. The traditional practices of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving are Scriptural.

As with any spiritual or religious exercise, it can be an empty gesture if not done for the proper reason or in the proper spirit.

8:43 AM  
Blogger cwinwc said...

Until the last few years, "Lent" was just something to get off of my clothes having grown up in a tradition that did not practice Lent. As a Weight Watcher it seems I'm in a constant season of "Lent" when it comes to some of my favorite foods.

I do not oppose or propose the practice of Lent.

2:12 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I want to thank you brother for sharing what it means and is all about. I believe it really could be benefital to our spiritual life as we sacrifice and fast. I know for me that fasting has always brought me closer into a deeper relationship with almighty God.
Thank you for the detailed information about Lent brother.

I hope your just joking I love reading your blog and don't know if I couldn't read your blog for 40 days. Please Lent something else! :-)

I totally agree with your comment. I think many Christians forget the freedom we have to practice holidays and religious rituals to could benefit us as believers. Thank you for your thoughts on this topic. You are always welcome here brother.

Thank you for sharing your view of the text. It is wonderful to see different opinions and thoughts on the word of God. I always appreciate your thoughts that you bring to the table on these subjects

Dew of Hermon,
I totally understand where you are coming from and appreciate your opinions and beliefs. Yes Christ did die and payed the attonment for our sins. Yet, I think fasting and self sacrifice should be practiced by every believer. If you look at the Sermon on the mount Jesus says, "when you fast" not "If you fast" so do we fast and self denial. So if believers practice Lent could be a good thing. I do want believers to understand that we can give up and come to deeply understand and appreciate the death of Christ. Again, thank you so much for adding your thoughts to this discussion.

I struggle with that as well.
I am working on it. :-)

12:35 PM  
Blogger Dew of Hermon said...

Just to clarify my previous comment on Lent, I do believe that 'prayer and fasting' are not optional extras for the believing follower of Christ. My problem with the Church prescribed period called Lent is that it trys to legalise and structure what should be the natural and constant(not just for a season) practise of the ordinary Christian.

So many Church rules began I'm sure with the best intentions, but what evolves over time is the practise of the ritual often without the accompanying 'heart for God' What endeared David to the Lord was not so much his religious performance as his heart that chased after God.

I've done the religious thing without any reality of Jesus' love for me, and I've come into newness of spiritual life through God's revelation of His love and mercy through His Son...and I know which one has brought refreshment and comfort to my soul!

This is not a bit od Catholic bashing on my part, it seems to me that every group must constantly guard against any hint of legalistic behaviour because as Paul reminds us in his Epistle to the Galatians ,replacing the Spirit's work with the Law is a surefire Grace killer. I enjoy your blog and appreciate the civilised nature of the debate in your comments section...Gerard

8:30 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

gucci outlet, louboutin outlet, longchamp handbags, tory burch outlet, longchamp outlet, true religion jeans, louis vuitton outlet, air max, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton, jordan shoes, burberry outlet, tiffany and co, louis vuitton handbags, michael kors outlet, kate spade handbags, ray ban sunglasses, air max, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, louboutin, tiffany and co, oakley sunglasses cheap, kate spade outlet, michael kors outlet, prada outlet, burberry outlet, michael kors outlet, nike shoes, coach factory outlet, nike free, louboutin, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton outlet stores, chanel handbags, christian louboutin shoes, prada handbags, michael kors outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, coach purses, michael kors outlet, coach outlet store online, true religion jeans, ray ban sunglasses, longchamp handbags, coach outlet

8:54 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

lululemon, nike tn, polo ralph lauren, hollister, vans pas cher, air max, nike air max, sac burberry, true religion outlet, nike roshe, oakley pas cher, michael kors, sac hermes, nike blazer, abercrombie and fitch, michael kors, converse pas cher, nike free, north face, ralph lauren, timberland, longchamp, louboutin, nike trainers, michael kors pas cher, sac guess, ray ban sunglasses, sac longchamp, air max pas cher, nike free pas cher, vanessa bruno, hollister, north face, louis vuitton uk, new balance pas cher, nike roshe run, louis vuitton, air max, air jordan, barbour, sac louis vuitton, sac louis vuitton, hogan outlet, mulberry, air force, true religion outlet, ray ban pas cher, polo lacoste

8:55 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

insanity workout, north face jackets, giuseppe zanotti, chi flat iron, ugg boots, p90x, birkin bag, longchamp, ferragamo shoes, rolex watches, herve leger, hollister, canada goose, babyliss pro, ugg australia, canada goose, canada goose jackets, reebok outlet, ghd, soccer shoes, ugg, nfl jerseys, nike roshe run, north face outlet, valentino shoes, mont blanc, celine handbags, nike huarache, new balance shoes, canada goose outlet, ugg boots, canada goose, mcm handbags, beats by dre, bottega veneta, wedding dresses, soccer jerseys, marc jacobs, canada goose uk, mac cosmetics, ugg pas cher, vans shoes, jimmy choo outlet, instyler, uggs outlet, asics running shoes, lululemon outlet, abercrombie and fitch

9:16 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

lancel, canada goose, timberland boots, pandora charms, thomas sabo, moncler outlet, hollister, canada goose, moncler, hollister clothing store, converse, ray ban, louis vuitton, rolex watches, iphone 6 cases, oakley, juicy couture outlet, vans, karen millen, pandora jewelry, ugg, moncler, air max, supra shoes, swarovski crystal, swarovski, pandora charms, moncler, moncler, converse shoes, gucci, ugg, louboutin, montre homme, air max, hollister, coach outlet store online, links of london, baseball bats, juicy couture outlet, ralph lauren, parajumpers, moncler, toms shoes, wedding dresses, moncler

9:16 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 09.11
ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, replica watches, burberry, ugg boots, jordan shoes, michael kors, prada outlet, christian louboutin outlet, prada handbags, longchamp, louis vuitton outlet, ray ban sunglasses, replica watches, michael kors outlet, tiffany and co, ugg boots, polo ralph lauren outlet, longchamp outlet, nike air max, louboutin shoes, louis vuitton outlet, gucci outlet, louis vuitton, nike air max, nike outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, ugg boots, tiffany jewelry, tory burch outlet, longchamp outlet, louboutin, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, ugg boots, louboutin outlet, oakley sunglasses, uggs on sale, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet, nike free, burberry outlet online

3:23 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

sac guess, coach factory outlet, new balance pas cher, air force, kate spade handbags, nike roshe run, hogan, michael kors, kate spade outlet, oakley pas cher, ray ban pas cher, true religion jeans, burberry, coach purses, vans pas cher, michael kors, north face, longchamp pas cher, air jordan pas cher, chanel handbags, coach outlet, north face, hollister, true religion jeans, louboutin pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, tn pas cher, michael kors, nike blazer, coach outlet, sac longchamp, true religion outlet, nike free, michael kors, lacoste pas cher, air max, hollister pas cher, converse pas cher, lululemon, timberland, nike air max, true religion jeans, vanessa bruno, ray ban uk, hermes

3:26 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

mac cosmetics, giuseppe zanotti, longchamp, p90x workout, herve leger, hollister, insanity workout, nike huarache, nike air max, babyliss, nike air max, nike roshe, beats by dre, abercrombie and fitch, reebok shoes, mcm handbags, mulberry, abercrombie and fitch, nike roshe, nike air max, mont blanc, nfl jerseys, soccer shoes, north face outlet, chi flat iron, vans shoes, ferragamo shoes, instyler, north face outlet, lululemon, celine handbags, asics running shoes, jimmy choo shoes, ghd, nike free run uk, ralph lauren uk, birkin bag, new balance, wedding dresses, hollister, bottega veneta, nike trainers, soccer jerseys, valentino shoes, baseball bats

3:30 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

swarovski crystal, juicy couture outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, louboutin, michael kors outlet online, replica watches, gucci, sac louis vuitton pas cher, coach outlet, pandora jewelry, bottes ugg, converse, juicy couture outlet, supra shoes, michael kors outlet, links of london, doke gabbana outlet, ralph lauren, louis vuitton, oakley, louis vuitton, timberland boots, toms shoes, pandora jewelry, louis vuitton, pandora charms, pandora charms, iphone 6 cases, lancel, vans, ugg boots uk, wedding dresses, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, michael kors handbags, montre pas cher, marc jacobs, hollister, ugg pas cher, ray ban, nike air max, converse outlet, hollister, swarovski, thomas sabo, louis vuitton, karen millen
ninest123 09.11

3:33 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home