Lent is the liturgical season from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Good Friday). It’s a 40-day period, excluding Sundays, that represents the time leading up to Jesus death on the cross.

Traditionally it’s a time to observe spiritual disciplines in an effort to connect in concrete, physical ways with Jesus’ suffering during that time of his life on earth.
Some of those ways are:

  • Prayer
  • Fasting
  • Penitence
  • Repentance
  • Giving
  • Self-denial

A common question from Christians is, “Do I really have to observe Lent?” This simple answer is, no. It’s not a biblically mandated practice like communion or baptism.

There’s nothing wrong with not observing Lent… but it can be very helpful in deepening our relationship with Jesus!

So, for those observing Lent for the first time, here are a few tips:

  1. try giving up a luxury item, like chocolate, or TV
  2. if fasting for the first time, start small, one meal a day or one day a week, and
  3. replace what you give up or the time you spend fasting with prayer, reflection and reading scripture, like the Gospel of John, for example.

And for those observing Lent again this year, for the second, tenth or fiftieth time, may it be a rich time of connection with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.