UNDERSTANDING LENT (with a few laughs thrown in!)

While it’s still early in our Lenten Season, I thought it a good time to review again some of the basics of Lent. The more we understand what Lent is about and what it means, then the more we become able to commit to Lent as a vital part of our faith life. 

This week, I’ve borrowed an article about Lent by Norton Herbst from the website “exploreGod.” And along the way, I have inserted a few Lenten cartoons (almost seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?) to keep reminding us that while Lent is a very solemn and reflective time, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a dark or depressing time. Hope you enjoy!

Pastor Bob <>< 


The idea of Lent began during the third and fourth centuries. The number of days is based on the biblical significance of the number forty—specifically, the forty years the Israelites wandered in the desert and Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness.

Thus, Christians describe the forty-day Lenten season itself as a journey in the wilderness. Lent represents a time of searching for God amidst the brokenness of life, a season of intentional fasting before a time of feasting. Historically, Christians have given up something during Lent as a symbolic way to mark their journey and refocus their energy on their relationship with God.

  Most often, this includes fasting from certain foods or drinks. Some skip a meal each day or give up specific things such as meat, caffeine, alcohol, or sweets. Others give up more modern luxuries such as the Internet, social media, or e-mail; reading books, magazines, or newspapers; shopping; watching television; or listening to music.

It is important to remember that none of these things are inherently bad, sinful, or evil. Yet any of these pleasures can easily become overly important in our lives. We likely have all experienced that.

The idea of a Lenten fast is to abstain from these subtle but powerful influences in our lives in order to become less distracted and better equipped to give one’s full attention to the spiritual journey. It is an occasion to relinquish something one typically enjoys in order to identify with Jesus and the sacrifice he made on Good Friday.

Significantly, “Lent should never be morose—an annual ordeal during which we begrudgingly forgo a handful of pleasures.” Lent should be considered an opportunity to realign ourselves with God and pursue a renewed relationship with him.

Many Christians adopt something new during Lent as well. They choose to pray at fixed times each day, read the Bible, serve the poor, observe moments of silence and meditation, or engage in habits that enrich the soul.

On Ash Wednesday, some Christians attend special church services and place ashes on their foreheads as an outward symbol of the repentance and fast they are undertaking. The day before Ash Wednesday has become known as Fat Tuesday, or more familiarly, Mardi Gras. The day is considered one’s last chance to indulge in rich foods, intoxicating drink, or anything else one is giving up for the following six weeks.


This yearly ritual may sound strange to anyone who has never observed Lent. But the point of Lent is not to do something “religious” to somehow impress God. Nor is it about drawing attention to what you are doing. Jesus himself warned his followers about fasting or praying in a public and prideful manner.     

Rather, Lent is about recognizing the regular seasons of life and embracing the rhythm of fasting before feasting. And this fasting—however one chooses to observe it—is a journey of faith. A journey of reflection and self-examination. A journey that provokes repentance and transformation.

Lent is a journey that culminates in the hope of Easter morning.

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