What is Lent?
Lent is an observance in Christianity that begins on Ash Wednesday (1st March in 2017) and ends around six weeks later on Easter Sunday. People observe this period by fasting or giving up something for the entire duration of Lent as a penance. Many Christians also add a spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional or praying, to draw themselves near to God. There are three traditional practices which are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and charity (justice towards neighbours).
How long is Lent?
Lent traditionally lasts for forty days. This is in commemoration of the forty days Jesus spent fasting in the desert before starting ministry during which He was tempted by Satan. Lent is from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday. This is 46 days but because there is no obligation to fast on the six Sundays in Lent it is 40 days.
Significant days in Lent
The fourth Sunday in Lent is Mothering Sunday, or Mother’s Day (in the UK). It is a day for honouring mothers by doing their daily tasks, buying them cards, presents and flowers and generally cooking all meals for them.Its origin is in a 16th-century celebration of the Mother Church.
The fifth Sunday in Lent is Passion Sunday and marks the beginning of Passiontide.
The sixth Sunday in Lent is Palm Sunday which marks the beginning of Holy Week; the final week of Lent immediately preceding Easter.
Wednesday of Holy Week commemorates Judas Iscariot’s bargain to betray Jesus.
Thursday of Holy Week is known as Maundy Thursday and is a day Christians commemorate the Last Supper shared by Christ with his disciples.
The next day is Good Friday on which Christians remember Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and burial. (After 3 days He rose again, defeating death and sin for all mankind).
40acts – doing Lent generously
40acts is the generosity challenge throughout Lent, created by UK Christian charity, Stewardship. Participants receive a daily email (from the 1st March – 15th April in 2017; it does not include Sundays), with a generosity challenge (with three levels of challenge to choose from) and short Bible based blog.
I’ve done this challenge previously and whilst it can be challenging it is so incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Anyone, anywhere can take part. For further information take a look at their website: https://40acts.org.uk/