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Reflections on Lent (Plus Reading Guide)

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season (symbolically a 40-day season, or literally 46 days if you count from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday). Lent is traditionally a season of dedicated prayer, Scripture reading, and reflection as Christians prepare to celebrate the Passion Week events leading up to Easter Sunday.

In order to facilitate this season of preparation, I have prepared a reading guide that takes us all of the way through the Gospel According to Mark. Although the central focus of all four gospels is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Mark’s focus on the Passion Week events is most obvious. Mark is therefore an especially appropriate book to study during the Lenten season. I invite you to join me in prayerfully reading through Mark.

The Lenten season is intended to help us focus our hearts, souls, and minds on the crucified and risen Savior of the World - Jesus Christ. The season is not chiefly about what we’re giving up as followers of Jesus. Rather, the season is about what we’ve gained by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. If abstaining from certain things during the Lenten season (certain foods, entertainment, etc.) helps you focus on what you’ve gained through Christ and allows you to better love and serve others – wonderful! However, let’s guard ourselves from the temptation to make the Lenten season all about what we’re not doing or eating. Observing Lent purely for the sake of giving things up does not help us better understand the grace of God as expressed through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

For further reading, please check out the following articles:

       - For additional information about the meaning of Lent and its history, check out this article.

       - For wonderful advice about how to observe Lent, check out this article.