The Meaning of Lent

The Season of Lent originated in the early centuries of church history as a time of preparation for Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts until Holy Saturday, the Saturday before Easter. The last week of Lent is called Holy Week, which includes both Maundy Thursday (commemorating the institution of the Lord’s Supper) and Good Friday (commemorating the crucifixion of our Lord).

Reminiscent of Israel’s forty years in the wilderness and Jesus’ forty days of fasting in the wilderness, the Lenten season, not counting Sundays, lasts forty days. Sundays are not included because the Lord’s Day, according to church tradition, is never a fast day but always a feast day, a celebration of the resurrection.

Lent is traditionally observed by penitence, sacrificial giving, self-denial, and prayer. We humble ourselves before God, coming before him in dust and ashes, confessing our sin and total inadequacy, stripping ourselves bare of all pretense. We place our needs, fears, failures, hopes and lives into the hands of God. We confess that our only hope is in Christ, who lived, died, and rose on our behalf.

This year, we invite you to join us in praying through the Daily Prayer Project’s Lenten Guide, which includes a liturgy for morning and evening prayer. You can download it here or read it below. We’ll also have copies available at church.

We entered into Lent on Ash Wednesday, February 17, with a joint service with Lincoln Square and Boulevard Presbyterian Churches. If you missed the service, you can watch a recorded version here. Additionally, we invite you to join our Lenten class, Jesus Through Her Eyes, or the women’s Lenten series, Encounters with Jesus, both of which provide an opportunity to reflect on the life of Jesus while connecting with others from our community. You can learn more on our events page.