We have chosen for this 40 Days of Lent, to Read the Book of Psalms and Proverbs. Oftentimes we tend to think about Christian holiness in terms of things that we have to do that will make us good people. Righteousness tends to be defined as issues dealing with our personal morality. However, in a biblical context, God’s expectations of holiness go far beyond an individual’s personal morality and good standing with God. In fact, in the New Testament the word for righteousness is “riahteousness” which is can also be translated to me “justice” The ideas of personal righteousness and justice are strongly linked throughout the Bible. Holiness is also about the “loving our neighbor” and the issues of justice when it comes to our neighbors.
It is our prayer that during these 40 days, we not only spend them reading our assigned readings, but asking the questions, (1) “What is God calling me to do” (2) “Where is God moving in my community?” (3) “What action(s) can I take to strengthen my walk with the Lord?” If we believe that God is a Holy God, then he must do everything within our sphere of influence to correct wrong actions and live our lives in such a manner that it reflects Christ.
Let Lent be a time of self-examination! Don’t just treat Lent as something that the Church requires me to do, but treat Lent as a journey of “seeking to better ourselves.” Lent is NOT all about “giving up” something” it is also about taking steps to improve or enhance ourselves so that we can reflect the image of a Risen Christ that is loving and compassionate. A Christ that seeks to find ways to make humanity better and is concern about our human dignity.
Facts About Lent
Here we’re going to look at 10 interesting facts about Lent!
- Lent is the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern, and some Protestant churches as a period of penitence and fasting. Sundays aren’t included in the 40-day count.
- Since Sunday’s aren’t included, Lent technically lasts 46 days.
- When Lent started, it was only 36 days. Later, it was changed to 40 days.
- Why is Lent 40 days? The number 40 is a significant number for Christians. Jesus spent 40 days in a desert. Noah had to wait 40 days for his ark to float. And Moses, along with his followers, traveled through the wilderness for 40 years before reaching the Promised Land.
- Catholics started the tradition of Lent around the year 325, during the Council of Nicea, but it has spread through other Christian denominations. These include the following denominations: Western Orthodox Churches, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Anglicans, among others.
- Lent tarts on what’s known as Ash Wednesday. This is when followers spread ashes on their forehead to signal their repentance to God. The ashes come from burning last year’s palms that were distributed on Palm Sunday
- Besides not eating meat, Some Christians also abstain themselves from certain vices, whether it’s chocolate, or TV or video games or other pleasurable activities. In a sort of paradoxes.
- Prayer is another common practice for those practicing Lent. This, along with fasting, helps Christians stay centered in Christ and God.
- Lent doesn’t actually end on Easter; it ends on Good/Holy Thursday, the day Jesus has The Last Supper. Good Friday is when Jesus dies on the cross, and on Easter Sunday, he rises from the grave.
- Many Christian Denominations encourage the flock during lent to be charitable and give a little extra at offering time or to a charitable organization.
Tips for Bible Reading
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand, and to show you what He wants you to see. When a passage is particularly difficult, pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you what it means. Sometimes the answer will come immediately; sometimes the answer will arrive sometime later.
- The Bible is one big CONTINUED story of God’s plan to redeem the world. Whenever you are reading a passage, consider how it fits into God’s overarching plan.
- Look for the big idea behind each passage. Sometimes you may have to reread a paragraph. Collect the ideas form the passage and write then down. Spend sometimes with your thoughts!
- The more you read of the Bible, the more you will become comfortable with it, even the “boring parts.” Read in big chunks as much as possible, with shorter books it’s great to read them in one sitting.