Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means “spring.” The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan.
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others. Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a “mini-Easter” and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.1
The liturgical color for this season of the Christian year is purple.2
1 Source: Glossary of Terms on InfoServ, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, the official information service of The United Methodist Church.
2 Source: Glossary of Terms on InfoServ, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, the official information service of The United Methodist Church.
Top 10 Things You Can DO for the Lenten Season
Lent is a time to return to God and re-focus our lives to be more in line with Jesus. It’s a 40 day trial run in changing your lifestyle and letting God change your heart. Here are some Top Ten ideas for fasting, service and prayer:
10. Try an electronic fast. Give up TV, Guitar Hero, texting, tweeting, e-mail and all things electronic for one day every week. (or everyday of Lent!) Use the time to read and pray.
9. Start a prayer rhythm. Say a prayer every time you brush your teeth, hear an ambulance, or check your e-mail. Before you text someone, pray for them.
8. Read one chapter in the Bible each day. (Matthew’s a good book to start with. Psalms, too.)
7. Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it (maybe even yourself.)
6. Give up soft drinks, fast food, tea or coffee. Give the money you save to help folks in Haiti or others in crisis.
5. Create a daily quiet time. Spend 30 minutes a day in silence and prayer.
4. Cultivate a life of gratitude. Write someone a thank you letter each week and be aware of how many people have helped you along the way.
3. Be kind to someone each day.
2. Pray for others you see as you walk to and from classes or drive to and from work.
1. Volunteer one hour or more each week with a local shelter, tutoring program, nursing home, food bank or community project.
Lent and Easter Resources
Find United Methodist Church resources for the Easter Season:
- Devotional Resources
- Family Resources
- Worship Resources
- Study Guides