Lent is the forty day period prior to Easter. It’s a time in the church year for preparation – preparation to experience the suffering and death of Christ and preparation to celebrate this resurrection on Easter Sunday. We observe Lent in several simple ways. We prepare special readings and litanies during our worship service. We focus on subjects like prayer and scripture emphasizing Christ’s journey to Calvary. our musical emphasis focuses on that journey as well.
Although we don’t follow some of the extensive Lenten rituals that other churches do, (For example, we don’t necessarily worship on Ash Wednesday, nor do we fast on Fridays, nor do we celebrate the stations of the cross) we do gather on Maundy Thursday to celebrate Love Feast, our holiest worship of the year. So Lent is vitally important to our spiritual life as we attempt to walk each day with Jesus.
My own experience with Lent as a child was important to me. As a youngster attending the Parker Ford Church of the Brethren we attended Wednesday night Lenten services every week. It was an interesting arrangement. The four churches of East Coventry Township joined together to hold weekly services. So one week we were at Brownback’s United Church of Christ, next Bethel Methodist Church, then Parker Ford Baptist and finally Parker Ford Church of the Brethren and then back to Brownback’s. They were full services with choirs and soloists and rotating speakers and they were well attended. Now if you ask me whether as a kid I was excited to be there on a Wednesday night, I’m not going to tell a lie and say yes. However, I did learn the importance of Lent and the reason it’s important is simple. In our world when there are four million things going on in our lives, Lent draws us back to focus on what may be the most important thing of all – Jesus Christ sacrificing his life for us so that we might be redeemed and be given the hope of eternal life. In all that happens in our lives what could be more important? That is why we observe Lent!