On Wednesday Christians around the world begin the observance of Lent, the traditional time of spiritual reflection that leads us to Good Friday and Easter Sunday. A quick check of the Wikipedia entry will give you some helpful background. Note that in the Western tradition, Lent starts with Ash Wednesday and continues until Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. Sundays are not counted as part of the forty days because each Sunday is meant to be a mini-Easter remembrance.
In the evangelical wing of the church, we’re never sure what to do about Lent. Mostly we have ignored it. But there always something to be said for preparing our hearts for big events. And Easter is the ultimate Big Event.
Because I was not raised in a church that observed Lent, I never gave it much thought one way or the other. That changed during the years I pastored in Oak Park as I came to see the value of ancient traditions like Advent and Lent. To be sure, there is no command in the Bible regarding observing Lent, but the tradition itself goes back to the early days of the Christian church. I regard observing Lent as a matter of Christian liberty. And in that spirit I began writing Lenten devotionals three years ago.
This year we’ll be looking at some of biblical sites associated with the life of Christ. This is partly a study in “sacred geography” and partly a study of biblical chronology, but mostly it is a Lenten journey through the life of Christ. Between now and Easter we will cover many of the places Jesus visited when he was on the earth. I hope that in taking this journey together, we will come to know Christ better, to love him more, and to more deeply appreciate what he did for us in his death and resurrection.
So come back tomorrow to this blog, and we’ll start our Lenten journey together.