With Ash Wednesday, the season of Lent has begun. In Christianity, Lent is the season of fasting and penance leading up to Easter. 

And although Lent is most commonly associated with Catholicism, Christians from other denominations also observe the season. 

Lent lasts for 40 days, not including Sundays. (That means Sundays are a day to break from the sacrifice.) For many people, that means 40 days of “giving up” something – a candy, coffee, chewing gum, t.v., Facebook …

Others take a different approach, adding extra spiritual devotion time to their daily routine.  

Patheos offers a different suggestion for every day of Lent – praying for enemies, giving money to charity, calling an old friend, using a more energy-efficient lightbulb. LifeTeen, a website for Catholic youth, offers 25 creative suggestions – including giving up shoes, beds, radios and warm showers. 

Regardless of what is given up, added or changed, the point is the same: Lent is a time to focus on God, and to reflect on his sacrifice, and the lifestyle changes people make during Lent are made to aid that process. 

What about you? 

How do you observe Lent? What significance does it have for you, spiritually? Why is it important to you?

We hope you'll leave a comment and share your thoughts. 

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Kellie Moore

Kellie Moore

Kellie Moore (formerly Kotraba) serves as the editor and community manager of Columbia Faith & Values. Although she is originally from the West – Nevada and California – she’s now proud to call Missouri home.

Responses to this Viewpoint

Lent from a college student’s perspective

Kearston Winrow |

When I tell my friends that I participate in Lent, the first thing that they ask me is, “Why? You’re not Catholic.” True, I’m not. I've been apart of the African Methodist Episcopal Church my entire life and since I was a child, I could remember my pastor talking about the Lenten season and sacrifice but I never quite understood until recently.

4 Comments

  1. Lent is becoming my favourite season – on the Kingdom Calendar. Why? Because, the purpose is to get “stuff” in my life that gets between my and my God out of the way, and focus more on what will last forever.

    “Stuff” has a way of becoming important, and I use the word liberally. Stuff is stuff – things are stuff, but not all stuff is things. But it is still stuff. Attitudes can be stuff. Perceptions. Misconceptions are perceptions too.

    WIPE A CLEAN SPOT ON THE CHALKBOARD OF MY LIFE.

    Very useful, cleansing even. And with new perspective, the New Stuff you put back is good stuff – or – you are doing it wrong.

    grace & peace.

    PS – the security question:

    “Of the numbers fifty six, forty eight, 48 or 57, which is the lowest?”:
    This one assumes the commas are correct, and in digits it would read,
    “56, 48, 48 or 57″ – but that gives the problem that there are two 48′s.
    And the question, “who comes up with these questions” and “I wonder if it will post the first time.”

  2. Saint Andrew's Lutheran Church

    Our Season of Lent focuses on the words, “By his bruises we are healed.” We begin with worship this evening, Ash Wednesday, at 7:00 p.m. offering the healing gifts of Ashes, Bread, and Wine.

    Aware of the hurtful turmoil that is troubling our world, we will consider the Good News the prophet proclaimed: By his bruises we are healed. [Isaiah 53:5] Can we really believe the Bible, which tells us the death of Jesus brings healing to body, to mind, to spirit? … for our personal lives, our interpersonal relations? … with the world in which we live and with the God who created this world?

    Our weekend worship services (February 16/17 – March 23/24) will focus on Jesus’ gift of healing, given to us through his suffering for us.

    Our Wednesday evenings (February 20 – March 20) we will worship using Holden Evening Prayer (7:00). You may begin the evening sharing in the soup supper, which will start at 6:00 p.m.

    We will also have a Service of Prayer for Healing on Sunday evening, March 10, 5 p.m.

  3. I, too, look forward to the Lenten season. I usually observe the season by attending mid-week services, including Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday.

    I also observe Lent by forgoing certain foods and drink. This year, I am forgoing red meat (which I usually do) and Mountain Dew (which is a first for me). I find that by forgoing certain things for Lent, it makes me think more of Jesus and the deprivations he suffered. I have and will run up against many situations where I have to deal with this. It is always an interesting spiritual experience for me.

    I usually do a daily devotion during Lent. This is to collect myself and be closer to God through the Holy Spirit.

    This year, I am going to try to deal with some difficult issues and try to remove some of the veils of my mind. Specifically, I am going to try to address Jesus’ miracles and how I can relate to them as a person who suffers from chronic illness.

    Thank you for this opportunity to address how I observe Lent.

  4. Kris Katarian

    Here’s a funny Lent story: From birth through college, I lived in the Bible belt, where every permutation of Protestant denominations reigned. There was little to no Catholic presence. My family went to the little Methodist church in a small town, and the Lenten season wasn’t a prominent part of worship.

    After college, I moved to a city in a different part of the country for a job. One frosty February day, I was working at my desk when a co-worker walked in. I peered curiously at the smudge on his forehead. “Jack, do you know there is dirt on your head?”

    After a short (and awkward) silence, the work room erupted with laughter, and I thought Jack was going to collapse with mirth. Finally, it was explained to me that it was Ash Wednesday, and why Jack had a bit of grime on his face!

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