For starters, it’s hard to understand what Lent is without understanding the Christian Calendar.  Calendars are not just a way to mark time, they also tell us what is important. Time to plant, to harvest, to get stationery for the school year, to do your taxes... you get the idea.  There are all kinds of “natural” calendars based on the sun, moon, seasons and other rhythms of activity, but the Christian calendar is different. It’s a calendar of grace. 

The Christian calendar tells us the most important things are not seasons, growing food, or money, but the Gospel, Christmas and Easter.  In theological language, it is saying the most important events that happened were a) The birth of Jesus, when God took on human nature, and b) the death and resurrection of Jesus, when God won the victory over evil, sin and death.  

 These important dates in the Christian calendar have seasons leading up to them and following on from them. Leading up to Christmas is Advent where we anticipate the coming of Christ. And following on from Advent is Epiphany, where we celebrate the visit of the Magi and the revelation of Christ to both Gentiles and the Jews. Leading up to Easter is Lent, where we practice simplicity and sacrifice and prepare to celebrate Christ's death and resurrection. Following on from Easter is Pentecost, where we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to be with, guide and empower us to live in the kingdom of God. 

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On “Ash Wednesday” a traditional practice is a priest or leader to put ashes in the shape of a cross on the forehead while saying something like, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” 

Lent starts with Ash Wednesday. It’s a time that has a particular feeling to it. It’s a time of fresh discipleship to Jesus, where we seek lives that are patient amid suffering, and faithful when tempted. Two scenes from the gospels loom large here: the temptation of Christ in the wilderness and the events leading up to and including the suffering of Christ on the Cross. Traditionally, people have engaged in three kinds of actions during Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving (giving to those in need).   

(Get in touch if you or your church would like to give to Tearfund as part of your giving during Lent.) 

Why is Lent an important practice? 

Because it helps us to become more Christ-like. We may not realise just how much the culture around us can influence us. Culture is not all bad, but we need to be aware that the priorities and goals that are “normal” in our world can be different to how God calls us to live.  In a world of consumer desire, practising giving and simplicity at Lent can help us to grow to build contentment in our lives. We also face endless choices for entertainment, but by practising solitude and silence at Lent, we can learn to be still and satisfied in God’s love. 

Quite simply, Lent is important because discipleship is important! 

What’s the theme for 2022? 

This year, we are focusing on the suffering of Christ on the cross, and more specifically his famous “seven sayings” or the  “dying words” of Jesus. 

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The Seven Sayings of Jesus from the Cross are a wonderful traditional resource for devotional reflection during Lent or any time of the year. 

The seven sayings of Jesus from the cross are traditionally used on Good Friday. They raise themes like forgiveness, relationship, salvation, loneliness and trust. Here are the seven sayings we’ll be reflecting on this Lent: 

  • Father, Forgive them.  They know not what they are doing. 

  • Truly I say unto you, you will be with me in Paradise 

  • Woman behold your son. (and) Behold your mother. 

  • My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? 

  • I thirst. 

  • It is finished. 

  • Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. 

We invite you to join us on the journey!  Sign up with the link below and you’ll get a weekly email with a video reflection and devotional questions.  These devotionals are great for your church, your small group or for you to reflect on individually. 

Sign up fo Lent 2022!


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