So you've read my "soapbox" and recent posts, but now you might be thinking, "What exactly is Lent?" "Isn't that something you do if you are Catholic?" Good questions.
I grew up in a small Baptist church, and other than Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, I don't recall celebrating the "season" of Lent. My first introduction to Lent was my brother's friend, Rocky Matoso. After riding BMX bikes on Friday afternoons, sometimes Rocky would stay for our family pizza night. But Rocky had to pick the meat off his pizza.
Me: "Why can't you eat meat?"
Rocky: "Because I'm Catholic and can't eat meat on Fridays until Easter."
Me: "Like, no meat at all?!"
Rocky: "Well, I can eat fish."
Me: "Isn't that meat?"
I was intrigued...and confused.
About seven years ago, I did some investigating, reading, praying and planning. Now as adult, I have found great significance in this important time. Here are a few more facts about Lent. (Remember, I'm not a theolgian or expert....just a mom sharing some information.)
- Lent is the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday. The word “lent” is from the Anglo-Saxon word "lengten," which means spring. Lent, is never mentioned in Scripture and is not commanded by God. Christians are free to either observe or not observe it.
- Technically, Lent is 46 days, but since all Sundays—and not simply Easter Sunday—are days to celebrate Christ's resurrection, Christians are forbidden to fast and do other forms of penance on those days.
- Forty days is a traditional number of discipline, devotion, and preparation in the Bible. Moses stayed on the Mountain of God for 40 days (Exodus 24:18 and 34:28), the spies were in the land for 40 days (Numbers 13:25), Elijah traveled 40 days before he reached the cave where he had his vision (1 Kings 19:8), Nineveh was given 40 days to repent (Jonah 3:4), and most importantly, prior to undertaking his ministry, Jesus spent 40 days in wilderness praying and fasting (Matthew 4:2).