Christ The King Lutheran School

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Why “Lent” and What Does It Even Mean?

...use terms and expressions which she understands, but you probably don’t.  The Church even uses language, unfortunately, which makes little or no sense to most people.  Take the word “Lent” for example.  Other than priests and pastors who really knows what the word means?
Just as you don’t have to understand the medicine you take, just follow the instructions, and just as you don’t have to understand the financial decisions your advisor gives you, just go along with it, so too you don’t have to understand what Lent means, in order to benefit.  Still, though, it’s never a good idea to put something in your mouth without knowing exactly what it is.

The word, “Lent” is an Old English word, which means it’s older than dirt.  It used to mean “Spring.”  (Apparently, way back when, people didn’t know that “Spring” means “Spring” not “Lent.”)  Lent runs for forty days, all the way up to Easter Sunday and Christians use this time (or at least they should) to get ready for Easter.   Christians get “ready for Easter” in much the same way as non-Christians, with Easter Egg hunts and elaborate dinners in the afternoon, but there is something different, something better.  Christians will use the forty days before Easter to “prepare” their hearts and minds for incredible love Jesus shows us during Holy Week (yes, another expression that doesn’t make much sense, just think “week” as in seven days) when Jesus will die on the cross for our sins and rise on Easter morning.   

During Lent, Christians prepare in different ways.  Some will fast, which means going without food for a certain period of time.  Your Catholic neighbors will fast by not eating meat on Fridays.  Others will increase the time they devote to prayer; many will go to additional, week-night worship services (like here at Christ the King); others will read the scriptures, thinking about the undeserved love and forgiveness God gives them through Jesus.

A passage in the Bible says that we would “have power…to grasp how wide and deep is the love of Christ and to know that this love surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  Pretty heavy passage.   In a nutshell, it’s saying that the love of Christ is something too big for us to even understand but one can begin to understand it thinking about, contemplating, the cross.  Simply put, Lent is a time to focus more earnestly on the cross so that we might more fully understand how much God loves us.

God bless you and your family!
Pastor Mark Goble