What is Lent and what does it matter?
From antiquity, followers of Jesus have set aside 40 days before Easter as a special time to reflect on their lives, to reorient, to pursue repentance (in the NT, that means a change of mind, heart, and what we care about), and to immerse in the Word in order to regenerate and empower the soul. These 40 days start on Ash Wednesday and do not include Sundays because that is the day of Jesus’ resurrection, as Jesus Himself said, “Are the friends of the bridegroom able to fast while the bridegroom is with them?” Notice that like salvation itself, like God’s work of turning us in repentance and of regenerating our souls in the image of Christ, Lent is not a season of something we do or do more of or try harder at. Lent is a retreat from our ego; it is a coming to rest in God’s green arc of providence for our life and reflecting on how that makes our life different.
Last week, I preached in a chapel service that spoke more about what Lent was about. You can view that 13-minute video here.