Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lent...A Season of Reflection

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday which is the first day of the forty day fast called LENT. Because I am a member of a church that does not observe Lent I decided to do a bit of research on the topic. What I found surprised me. According to the church fathers the traditin of observing a period of reflection, and mourning the death of Jesus Christ began in the first century in Jerusalem. This period of reflection and mourning took many forms and was celebrated on different days. Eventually the fast days were observed in the spring, hence the term Lent.

In the early days of the Apostolic period there was a great deal of controversy about how many fast days should be observed, and when these fast days should take place. Some people thought that only one full day was sufficient. Some called for two or more days, and in time the fast became a forty day fast. However, the terms of the fast have changed many times throughout the ages until today the approved fast is very different from the original manner of fasting. Today most Catholics choose something very important to them and resolve not to do, eat, drink, or take part in whatever they have chosen to sacrifice. LENT is not only a Catholic religious observance. Many protestant denominations such as Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Eastern Orthodox Christians observe Lent.

I freely admit that I have not done an in-depth study of the reasons behind observing Lent but one thing is very clear to me. The purpose of the observance is extremely important to every born again believer. If it is not, it should be. This holy season is a time to reflect and meditate upon the great sacrifice and suffering of our Lord and Savior when he died on the cross for our sins. The Season of LENT is an extended period when people mourn and reflect on the sacrifice of the Savior. As the season draws to an end and Holy Week approaches on Palm Sunday a feeling of exultation enters the heart as the meditation moves to the approaching miracle of the RESURRECTION!

Maundy Thursday, the last Thursday before Easter is the day to commemorate the day when The Lord's Supper was placed into practice by Jesus Christ. The term Maundy Thursday is one that has developed through lingual shifts in the English language. The word commemorate is used as a commandment. The name Maundy is derived from mandatum (Latin, "commandment"). From ancient times until the present it is usual to receive communion on Maundy Thursday and many churches previously instituted foot washing on this day. It seems appropriate to mark the day by taking the Lord's supper and celebrating with foot washing although foot washing is not commonly practiced in many churches today.

GOOD FRIDAY is the traditional day designated for observing the death of Jesus Christ. Many churches have a solemn service where the message is about the death of Jesus Christ. Again the purpose of this type of observance is to build to a glorious understanding of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday morning. I believe that with preparation and proper teaching this could become a wonderful, meaningful observance that could bring our people to a sense of the great love that God had for us and what the death of Jesus Christ really means in our Salvation!

EASTER Sunday! Glorious celebration of the resurrection. Singing Up From the Grave He Arose....with a mighty triumph o'er His foes... The very thought makes me want to shout with a voice of triumph! He arose from the dead! He overcame the grave. This is the keystone and core of everything we believe. We should commemorate it! We should shout it from the roof tops! He arose. He lives and is alive forever more!

Easter is a wonderful time in the lives of our families and our children. We love the Easter bunny, Easter egg hunts, and the food...dinner on the ground like we used to do. But let us not forget the reason we celebrate. Perhaps we should take more time to get to Easter by way of the cross of Jesus Christ. All of us...the people of the name of Jesus should be ahead of the crowd in making this a most serious time of our lives to be taught to our children and grandchildren.


(Maundy Thursday). (2007). In BELIEVE Religious Information
Source web-site.
Retrieved, (insert today's date) from
A Christ Walk Church Public Service:

Leclercq, H. (1911). Maundy Thursday. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved February 26, 2009 from New Advent:

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