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Why Lent?-"Beyond Question" Q&A Series
This is part of our "Beyond Question" Lenten Series. Questions were requested from members of the congregation of all ages. Sunday school and Bible Study classes were polled and over 40 unique questions were collected. Each Sunday Worship service a new question will be drawn at random by a Trinity member and Pastor Gronberg or Pastor Mohn will answer that question on this blog the following week.
2nd Sunday in Lent: 1st Question-"Why do we have Lent?"
Lent is an ancient observance of the Church that prepares us for the coming of the "great three days" and ultimately Easter. Forty days in length it begins with Ash Wednesday and concludes at dark on Holy Saturday (Sundays don't count in the 40 days as each Sunday, being the day of resurrection, is a "little Easter").
The season begins with a penitential rite of the imposition of ashes. This rite reminds of the biblical tradition of "putting on sackcloth and ashes" as a sign of penitence and remorse. During the 40 days many Christians will take on Lenten disciplines, the traditional one's being "Prayer, Fasting and Giving of Alms". In modern times this means many abstain from eating certain foods or take on additional disciplines such as intentional study of scripture, emphasis on prayer or worship (at Trinity we observe this communally with our Wednesday's Together soup suppers and 7pm Lenten worship as well as our Blood Drive, continued collection for food pantries and our special "Baskets of Hope" projects). These disciplines help remind us continually through the forty days of our commitment to follow Christ and most importantly, the sacrifice of Christ for us on the cross.
The liturgical color for Lent is purple (this is the color of the altar decorations, pastors stoles etc...). Purple is used because it is an ancient color of kingship. Jesus, when he was being beaten by the Roman guards, was mockingly clothed in a purple robe and forced to wear a crown of thorns. We are reminded by this purple that Christ's kingship is not for glory and power, but for humble service and love. An expectation that is placed upon all who desire to be disciples/followers of Christ.
Lutheran Christians observe Lent along with the vast majority of Christians around the world. Only in the short history of Christianity in America have protestant Christians moved away from this observance finding it "too Catholic" or "too depressing." While certainly not a joyful time of the church year, this season of reflection and preparation can help make the coming of the Easter festival all the more joyful when we have fully engaged the cost of discipleship. Not the cost to us, but the cost to our God to become human and suffer death, even death on a cross.
We pray this Lent might be a time for you of deepening your walk of discipleship and service of God and neighbor.