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In the middle of February, as the Time of Christmas comes to an end, the Time of Easter begins. The Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord (Easter Sunday) is in the middle of this time, with the season of Lent serving to prepare our spirits for the celebration of Easter. 


40 DAYS, NOT COUNTING SUNDAYS

Church historians generally agree that a penitential season designed to prepare God’s people for the celebration of Easter is as old as the Council of Nicea (325 AD). It became also a time of preparing the catechumens (new converts) for baptism at Easter.  Keeping a “fast” became a common practice, especially for these converts, but soon became popular for all Christians. While the length of the time (40 days) varied from place to place, the fast itself was rather strict, one meal per day, and not until after 3 pm, and no meat, fish, or dairy.

The time was formalized in the late 6th century: 40 days, not counting Sundays, beginning on a Wednesday and including an imposition of ashes to mark the beginning of the time. Sundays were each considered to be “a little Easter.” Often the fast was broken on these Sundays, although other penitential practices continued until the actual celebration of Easter.

The first Christians moved their weekly gathering for worship from what had been the common practice among the Hebrew people, on Friday evenings to mark the beginning of the Sabbath. Christians, on the other hand, decided that since they gathered to celebrate the resurrection, the most appropriate time for worship was in the morning of the first day of the week, Sunday.

FASTING, PRAYER, and WORKS OF LOVE

For generations, God’s people have focused on three things for the Season of Lent:

  • FASTING: Use this season as an opportunity to moderate your input and use that change in your habit to remind you of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
  • PRAYER: Join us Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm for a more intentional time of prayer. 
  • WORKS OF LOVE: Take on an additional service opportunity during these days. Help a neighbor prepare for spring or check in on someone who lives in an Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing facility. 

BE AN EVANGELIST

The additional Evening Prayer services during Lent and, then, the services and events of Holy Week at the end of March provide ideal opportunities to invite a friend to join you in worship. 

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