Today is the beginning of Lent, a 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting beginning with Ash Wednesday and culminating in Easter. So if you see people walking around with a black smudge on their forehead, it's there on purpose. (For more on the significance of Ash Wednesday, check this out.)
As someone who did not grow up in a tradition-laden church, I used to have a bad attitude about Lent. It seemed like people were relying on self-sacrifice to score brownie points with God. Did God really care if my neighbor gave up pizza for 40 days?
And, while many people likely participate in Lent without a proper understanding of the gospel (grace, righteousness, etc.), I've come to appreciate the significance of Lent. Just like Advent is intended to prepare us for the celebration of our Savior's birth, Lent is about intentionally focusing on Jesus, particularly on his death, burial, and resurrection.
When viewed through the lens of the gospel, Lent can be a wonderful time of reflection, repentance, and intimacy with the Lord.
A few ideas:
Do you have any other ideas for making Lent more spiritually significant? Share them below.
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