Posted in Spiritual Discipline

“What is lent?” + My first experience

Lent is a season of repentance and humility, a time where we are called to consider our human sin and frailty in light of the splendor and perfection of God our King.

The staff of Redeemer Presbyterian Church

In February my fiancé booked a trip to London for my birthday. We both love books, so he looked up some bookshops around where we were. One of the bookshops we went to was Church house bookshop. It was in this bookshop that we were introduced to LENT*. I had personally never heard of it.

He found a book on a specific shelf that read LENT, since we were in a Christian bookshop, and he didn’t know what this meant, he looked it up.

When we returned home, the idea of lent kept returning to me. So, we decided to join our brothers and sisters around the world during the lent period.

What is lent?
The lent period consists of 40 days. During these days Christians all over the world fast and pray. The reason it’s 40 days has to do with the 40 days that Christ fasted in the wilderness before he started His ministry. The fast can be on anything that takes a lot of our time. It can be social media, series, food, sweets, … anything at all. Fasting form something means, sacrificing something, to spend more time with God.
If you would like to know more about fasting, I have a post on that you can check out. https://thepurposedrivenjournal.com/2019/12/29/fasting/

As we dedicate ourselves to God during this time, we are called to gratitude by remembering all that God has done for us, like the people of God who recall and remember the day He majestically set them free from the yoke of the pharaoh of Egypt, whom they were in-slaved by for 400 years. We are called to pray, to seek Jesus and realize what he has done for us by dying on the cross. As we do this, we are called to repent from our ways as well.

After the 40 days, comes the Holy week, this is the week before Easter Sunday.

  • Palm Sunday: On this day we celebrate the day Jesus entered Jerusalem days before the crucifixion. Mark 11: 1 – 10
  • Holy Wednesday: On this day we acknowledge the plan of Judas, who will betray Him to the religious leaders for some cash. Matthew 26: 14 – 16
  • Maundy Thursday: This is the day of Jesus’s last supper.
1 Corinthians 11: 23 - 27
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, 
on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, 
he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in 
remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, 
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, 
you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

The celebration of the Passover is often seen as only for the Jews, but Jesus himself celebrated the Passover. We could obviously argue that it was because He was a Jew, right? But I honestly can’t understand this argument, we are called to be Christ like, to follow His ways, and if He thought it’s important to celebrate the Passover, so should we.

1 Corinthians 5: 7 - 8
Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 
Therefore let us keep the Festival, 
not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness,
 but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

The night before He died, Jesus gathered with His disciples to celebrate one last time the great Passover feast. As they ate, they remembered their nation’s physical deliverance from Egyptian slavery. Then Jesus called the group’s attention to an even greater spiritual deliverance that was about to happen. To help them (and us) remember this wonderful gift of salvation, Jesus instituted a new and different memorial meal of simple bread and wine. Called the Lord’s Supper, communion, or the Eucharist, the meal points to the Cross, the resurrection, and all God does for us. There we have the ultimate expression of God’s infinite mercy and love.

John Hagee
  • Good Friday: On this day we recall Jesus’s crucifixion. Matthew 27: 27 – 56
  • Easter Sunday: On this day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord! Matthew 28: 1 – 10

*Passover = The last of the ten plagues God punished the pharaoh with, was the death of the firstborns in all of Egypt in an attempt to let His people go. As the Angel of death would go through Egypt, the Israelites had to kill a lamb and post the blood of the lamb on their doors. In this way, they would be passed over and their firstborns wouldn’t be killed.

*Lent = The English word Lent is a shortened form of the Old English word lencten, meaning “spring season”, as its Dutch language cognate lente (Old Dutch lentin) still does today. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lent)

*Easter = The day the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated


My Experience

During this period, I read a book that thought me a lot that was significant for the lent period. The book: “The drama of Scripture: Finding our place in the Biblical story” by Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen. It teaches a lot about the background, circumstances, and culture in the time of the biblical stories, which is a great asset to able to understand the Scriptures. I can’t say it enough, but knowing the scriptures is crucial for a Christian, and this book helps you have the right perspective on the passages.

I have never fasted for 40 days, and I must say that it was more of a roller coaster experience for me. The first week went pretty well. I spend a lot of time in scripture reading, doing devotionals on the youversion app, reading the book I just mentioned above, listening to sermons, and praying.

Somewhere between the second and third weeks, it started to get quite difficult. I wanted to stop many times. In the fourth week, I started finding excuses to compromise what I was sacrificing. Around the same period, I got ill for almost 2 weeks, which made it even harder.

I honestly can’t stress spending time with God enough when you fast.
If you don’t the whole experience gets a lot harder. It becomes about our strength in making it happen, and not so much about the Spirit working in us.

Even though it was a roller coaster experience, I am still very glad I participated in the lent fast because it’s a meaningful time in the lives of Christians around the world, and also because I was able to learn a lot:

  1. I learned a lot about God’s story through the book I devoted myself to during this period
  2. I was able to improve my prayer life by cultivating a new habit
  3. I learned a new way of studying scripture
  4. I was able to start doing an evening devotional which I’ve always wanted to do

If you would like me to speak more about any of the things I’ve learned, let me know. I wish you all a blessed Easter!

Author:

I am a devoted, every day growing Christian who is currently a student.

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