Lent is an important time to many of us at The Shepherd’s Fellowship. While we are non-denominational, we have adopted this ancient church tradition as part of our own practice.
Lent is the period of time from Ash Wednesday (3/9/11) until Easter (4/24/11). It is a period of 40 days (minus Sundays) and is a period of fasting as we symbolically share in Christ’s time of fasting in the desert before his temptation. It is a preparation time as we get ready for the celebration of Holy Week. OK, there’s a lot of church talk in there, so let me better explain the process of the practice.
For some in our church, the season starts with ShroveTuesday which is a celebration of partaking. This year we had a pancake dinner, praise and worship, and a short talk from Katie Isler.
Ash Wednesday is a time of reflection of what we bring to the table outside of Christ. It is a time of reflection time on our sins, our shortcomings, and our need for His salvation. This year of actually we are having open church at the Gathering Building from 9am – 6pm for people to come, pray, be prayed over, to receive the ash as a symbolic act and/or recieve personal communion.
Lent is a season of fasting. What is fasting? For us, it’s a matter of giving something up that matter to you for the period of time during Lent. When you miss it, you let that be a natural reminder to draw closer to God in prayer, dig into His Word through the Bible, and reflect on what He means to us. It’s a sacrifice to assist us in leaning into Him. This, again, lasts until Easter. On Easter, we partake back in the thing we gave up as part of our Resurrection celebration. In many cases, that thing that was once so important doesn’t even mean that much to us anymore and you might not need it anymore or in the same way anyways.
For some of us, we give this item (pizza, pop, TV, casual internet use, twittering, ect.) up the entire time but for some, we celebrate mini-resurrections by partaking of that item on Sundays as mini celebrations of the resurrection. I know, personally, that I rejected this notion the first several years because it seemed to be an easy out for the time. However, last year, I tried it and it really added to my Lent season an element of celebration in preparation.
So that’s the jist of it. Growing up, Lent was something those other churches did and was old fashioned and weird. However, we have found that when it is done with a humble heart, seeking the Lord, and pulling close to Him…. it is an amazing way to prepare to the joy that Easter brings!
We do on-line Lent devotionals through our prayer chain. If you would like to get these, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.