StoneBridge Church Community

Lent

Wednesday, March 1st is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent.  Sometimes people have baggage associated with Lent and view it as a season of joyless duty.  It does not have to be that way!  Lent is a time of preparation and repentance during which we anticipate Holy Week. Just as we carefully prepare for big events in our personal lives, such as a wedding or commencement, Lent invites us to make our hearts ready for remembering Jesus’ passion and celebrating his resurrection.   It is a season to journey with Jesus in his passion, to survey the cross, and to reflect on and experience his love in his suffering and death for us.

In a country of religious freedom we do not experience much real persecution as our brothers and sisters do around the globe.  During Lent Christians choose to identify with Jesus and his sufferings through some forms of self-denial like fasting.  The intent is to help us better say “no” to ourselves in order to experience a greater “yes” in Jesus.  This season is meant to form the cross in our lives as we recognize that the good news of resurrection comes through the way of the cross.  Practiced rightly, Lent prepares us to better celebrate the reality of resurrection joy as we recognize the depth of our sin that was placed on Christ at the cross.  

The practice of a forty-day preparation period began in the Christian church during the third century.  The number forty is significant based on the forty years Israel spent in the wilderness and Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness.  If you count the days until Easter you will notice that there are 46, not 40.  What’s up with that?  We don’t count Sundays as part of the Lenten season as all the Sundays of Lent are “little Easters.”  They are days of joy and celebration.  So if you choose a form of self-denial during Lent, you don’t do it on Sunday!  This practice also makes each Sunday a little experience of resurrection joy.

Here are some resources for you to consider using during this season.
  • Forty: Devotion for Lent - This Lenten devotional explores the biblical motif of "forty" through the stories of Noah, Moses, the exodus, Elijah, and Jonah.
  • Seeking God’s Face - a resource that provides an entire year of daily prayers and readings from Psalm and other Scriptures
  • Reliving the Passion - Wangerin retells the Passion story (from Mark's version) and gives it new relevance for today's reader. A forty-day devotional reader for the Lenten season.
  • The Spirit of the Disciplines - An in-depth look at how spiritual disciplines form us into Christ-likeness.
  • Kneeling in Jerusalem - This collection of poetry offers thoughtful insights as we journey with Christ to Jerusalem and the cross.