Lent - Its History and Practice
Lent season has started and the Holy week will open up the month of April this year. Have you made your preparations yet? Lent is not like any other holiday such as Christmas or New Year’s Eve where in celebration is tradition. Lent is solemn and is practiced with fasting and many other things. This is done so that it mimics Jesus when he was in the wilderness and was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-2). Jesus fasted for 40 days and forty nights then the devil appeared to test Him. Many Christians practice lent starting from Ash Wednesday wherein foreheads are being marked with ash. This marks the start of a life of prayer, repentance and fasting during the entire season of Lent. Practices may differ individually and some don’t fast just by abstaining for a certain food such as meat. Some forms of fasting are giving up vices and un-Godly things such as smoking, drinking. Some may proceed to more mundane stuff like giving up computer games, watching Dr. House or even drinking Coffee. What have you decided to give up during lent? Have you prepared yourself physically, mentally and spiritually for this? In General, the meaning of Lent for us Christians or at least to those groups that practice lent is somewhere between the lines of: “Preparing one’s heart for remembering Jesus’ Death and resurrection. It is a season of personal sacrifices and to pray and cleanse oneself with dedication and sincerity of the spirit and mind.” Well you get the big picture more or less. Lent based on the Bible As Christians, the Bible is our main source of instruction. It is God’s holy word so to speak and is written through his inspiration. According to the same Bible, there is no mention of a Lenten season. It is quite a paradox that something we so sincerely practice was not written in it – or was it? Ash Wednesday, the day we are supposed to start Lent, isn’t also in the Bible. There was no mention that in 40 or so days before Easter, people were being marked by Jesus Christ with ash on their foreheads. Other things we put into the spotlight is the Holy Week itself. If the Romans know and documented the exact week where Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected, wouldn’t it be a fixed date? The term Romans here was used as it was their era during the time of Jesus. They were sure with Christmas but how come now it isn’t as clear? Another to take into consideration are the days - Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, something that’s marked in our Calendars as “holidays.” This was lately incorporated and based on the Bible; it falls right about in Passover Season. (I Corinthians, 5) May scholars have disputed this and was actually practiced by Christ and the Apostles and have branched out to the New Testament Churches. Lastly, the Bible dictates that we are forgiven and become pure from our sins when we accepted the convent of Jesus. That is when we believe in him as our savior, knowing that he died for our sins already. But then again, we always fall short of God’s Glory. That is why we are working hard spiritually in studying his word and following His teachings. This simply means that no fasting or whatever extremist practice such as self torture can replace God’s covenant for us. So what is Lent? As painful as it may sound, Lent was created by the Roman Catholic Church. Funny how there it is again “Roman.” They established the church as a religion to conquer and expand their Kingdom. It was hard back then to control a Kingdom without religion. And all of these dates were created so as to coincide with Pagan Holidays so that Conversion would be easy – Christmas included. In order to be Christians we must live out a life that Jesus started. He didn’t say that you must give up this and that for 40 something days just so you’ll get it back later. This is quite funny and useless. There is more to Christian life than we know, and that is all in the Bible.