Hey CCC Family! Lent begins this Wednesday, March 2nd and our hope is that we could observe this significant time in the church calendar together. Here’s what Lent is all about and how you can participate:
What is Lent?
Lent is a 40-day period (excluding Sunday’s) in the Christian calendar where believers down through the ages and around the world have prepared themselves for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. It begins every year 6 weeks before Easter Sunday, and this year it starts on Wednesday, March 2nd. This 40-day period mirrors Jesus’ own time in the desert as he prepared himself for ministry.
How do we observe Lent?
Traditionally Lent is a voluntary time of fasting, prayer, and giving. The observance of Lent is not commanded in scripture but a tradition of the historical Christian church. The goal is spiritual growth not duty or obligation.
First, it’s a time for fasting. In the same way Jesus fasted in the desert, believers fast during Lent. Some give up a specific food or drink. Others give up things like social media or TV. The point of abstaining from something is not to go through a religious exercise (this is entirely voluntary) but to make room in our hearts and our minds for more of Jesus. During Jesus’ own 40 days in the desert he fasted. While in the desert he was tempted by the Devil to turn rocks into bread. He responded by saying: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4). This summarizes the purpose of Lent very well. We are much more than our desires and our cravings. To practice abstinence in any form is to give our souls room to reach out to what they need more than food and entertainment–communion with the living God.
Second, it’s a time of prayer. When we abstain from physical nourishment, we are directing our souls to deeper spiritual nourishment. When we repent, we turn away from sin and turn towards the cross. This is where prayer, scripture, and silence come in. Lent is a time to uncover the false and functional saviors in our lives and cling once again to our true savior, Jesus Christ. There are many ways we can practice prayer. Here are a few recommendations:
- Global Day of Prayer and Fasting for the war in Ukraine on Ash Wednesday – Christians from all over the world are taking Ash Wednesday to fast and pray for the war in the Ukraine. We invite you to participate in this time as you feel led as we seek the peace between Russia and the Ukraine and the de-escelation of war in the region and world.
- Lectio Divina 365 – This daily devotional app leads you through a 10-minute prayer and meditation through the season of Lent. It’s a very powerful exercise and a great way to start the day. You can download the app and each day we can pray the same things together as a church family: https://www.24-7prayer.com/dailydevotional.
- ‘He Reads Truth’ & ‘She Reads Truth’ reading plans– The He/She Reads Truth Ministry have put together a reading plan for Lent that walks through the book of Ezekiel. To access their reading plans you can get more info and download their apps here:
Finally, Lent is a time of giving. In the same way Jesus gave his life for us, we seek to pour out our lives for others. There are numerous ways we can give, but this year we want to highlight the new work we are stepping into as a Good Neighbor Team in partnership with World Relief. We have committed to come alongside a refugee family for long term support as well as raise $10,000 over the next year. We have already raised $3000 to date. Thank you for always being a generous church! You can contribute by donating through the CCC app and selecting ‘World Relief Partnership’ as the giving type.
These 40 days leading up to Easter are a significant time to prepare our hearts for more of Jesus and more of his resurrection power in our lives, our city, and our world. These are just a few guiding principles and opportunities to help along the way. We are praying that the resurrection life of Jesus would become more real to us this year than ever before, especially as we have not only come out of some trying times, but the world’s uncertainty continues. Thankfully, what is certain, is that Jesus is alive, and the resurrection life of Christ will always have the last word!