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April 2014 WHY LENT
3/31/2014

WHY LENT?

As a Protestant church, many people wonder why we wouldobserve 40 days of Lent leading up to Easter, they think only the Catholics orother denominations do that, not the Independent Christian Churches. And theyare right, Lent usually is only celebrated by the denominations and Catholics,but it is a great time focus our busy lifestyles on the greatest event in man’shistory: the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus our Lord!

Prior to a Roman Catholic Church, there was just a catholic(one church) that existed and these Christians met for the weeks prior toPassover to teach new believers more about faith in Christ Jesus, the truePassover Lamb. This continued as Christians were forced to separate from thePassover celebration and celebrate the risen Christ later which we calledEaster.

The opportunity for instruction became especially importantafter the Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of theRoman Empire in the fourth century. The many weeks of self examination, prayer,and devotion leading up to Easter helped lead less-than-fully committedbelievers more deeply into the Christian Community. State ran churches weredying spiritually and needed a deeper understanding of commitment to Christ,not the Empire.

Around 330 AD, Lent was standardized at 6 weeks. Becauseevery Sunday is a “little Easter” for Christians, and thus “a feasting day,”Sundays were never included in the 40 fasting days of Lent. Gradually, 4 moredays were added to the original 36, and the first day of Lent became known asAsh Wednesday.

Today, churches around the world set aside 40 days to helptheir members prepare for Easter. Today, I believe we need to become deeper inour faith, deeper in our relationship with Christ than since the time of Constantine.We need something to draw us deeper into self-examination and preparation forEaster so it becomes more meaningful for us and Lent can do that if we choose.Since it is not Biblical, we are free to design whatever we want in order toenhance our understanding of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

Why 40 days? The number 40 appears often in the Bible. For example:40 days of flooding rains at the time of Noah (Gen 6-8). The 40 days Mosesspent on Mount Sinai receiving the 10 commandments (Ex. 24:18). The 40 daysJesus spent in the desert while He was tempted by the devil at the beginning ofHis ministry (Luke 4:1-13). And, the 40 days of surprise visits Jesus made toHis followers after His resurrection (Acts 1:3).

Whether we observe the 40 days or not, Lent is a great timeof thought and devotion to reading the Scriptures that explain all Christ didfor us through His death, burial and resurrection. It is a great time to prayfor revival in our own hearts and in the hearts of the church today and in ourcountry and the world (Acts 1:11). It’s a perfect time to deepen ourappreciation of Jesus’ love for you. He lived a perfect life in your place. He suffered,was crucified, and buried—FOR YOU. He rose—FOR YOU. He will come again—FOR YOU.One day, He will take YOU to live with Him in eternity. That’s something worththinking about more than one weekend a year isn’t it? That’s why Lent is a goodthing for ALL believers!!!!