The etymology of the word “Lent” is inspiring…going to what we celebrate for over 40 days as a Christian church. “Lent” comes from the old English “Lencten”, meaning, “Early Spring” or “Spring Coming”. As such, it is a special time for prayer, sacrifice, almsgiving and fasting as Scripture invites a Christian to live with seasons of more intense spiritual work, on the one hand, and times of festivity on the other (eg: Hebrews 12).
The purpose of Lent is to have us exercise spiritual muscles we haven’t used for awhile (an Early Spring training…if you like). The goal is to demonstrate not only to the world; but also, to actualize faith in ourselves…we can control and sacrifice worldly desires and wants to God and for God’s sake. By doing so, we prepare for the lean times that may present themselves in a soul’s lifetime.
When I have a loss…when I experience desolations and emptiness…when I am seriously hurt (or a member of the family is hurt)…when I am challenged by things of this world – my practices in Lent train me to know how temporary these situations actually are. I learn I can and do endure for the sake of something greater than myself. Having Jesus as our Model and Guide at Lent, we realize as Christians, He is able to transfigure this world (and our lives) for the greater glory of God.
When a soul prepares well: a good Lenten practice will make for a good Holy Week celebration. A good Holy Week celebration then makes for a wonder-filled Easter Season.
And, remembering that God will never be outdone in love – I can tell you – when Easter comes around…WOW! I discover how wonderful a treat the item that was sacrificed, when returned to me at Easter, is a great and true blessing.