Why Observe Lent? – The Fount Account

We have entered into the season of Lent once again. Lent is a season of preparation, much as Advent is, but Lent is observed and participated as preparation for the grand Event of Easter. These 40 days (plus 6 Sundays—more on that in a moment) are meant to help us recall the 40 days of fasting that Jesus undertook whole being tempted in the wilderness at the beginning of His earthly mission. It also reminds us of the 40 years that the children of Israel spent wandering in the wilderness after the Exodus. It is a time of contemplation, of pondering, of considering how great were the sufferings of Jesus.

But why observe Lent? We know what happened on Easter! We know that Jesus triumphed over the grave and that His suffering and death led to the greatest victory in cosmic history! Why bring us down to consider the suffering (passion) of Jesus once again? Why build a spiritual buzzkill into our annual observance?

Because we need it.

We need to spend time considering all that Jesus sacrificed for us. If we don’t, if we just pass it off glibly and spend all of our time celebrating the end result, the power and meaning of the end result will lose its power and meaning for us! If we don’t ponder the significance of Jesus’ suffering and death, His resurrection will devolve into just a byword for us.

During Lent we fast and pray. Since Sundays are always feast days (because of the resurrection), Lent is a season of 40 days of fasting (Monday through Saturday) PLUS the six Sundays (feasting), so 46 days in all. Technically, whatever we “give up” (fast) during Lent, we should take Sundays “off”. In other words, if you give up chocolate during Lent, you should have some chocolate on Sundays. Now, ain’t that Good News!?! And because Lent is a solemn season, we traditionally do not sing “Hallelujah” during Lent, but again, since Sundays are feast days, we can sing Hallelujah on Sunday! It’s confusing, I know! This is why our spirituality is not just a one-day-a-week spirituality! When observing Lent—and all times—we need to practice our faith all seven days in a week!

We’ve begun the Lenten series of devotionals from Seedbed, called “Altar’d” by Susan Kent. You can listen to devotional everyday at 9:00 AM (PT) on Facebook Live (8:45 on Sundays) or directly from Seedbed. And then, on Tuesday evenings (beginning tomorrow, Feb. 20th) at 7:00 PM (PT), I’ll be hosting a online Lenten study on the series/book on Zoom (there’s still time to register in the church office!). Adding a devotional everyday is a good way to observe Lent!

As we invited everyone on Ash Wednesday to “observe a holy Lent”, so I invite you here, now, to observe a holy Lent. Let this time in preparation for Easter be a deep and rich time of drawing closer to God, seeking His face, and contemplating what Jesus did for us.

In Lenten Waiting,