Lent: A Christian Perspective

What is Lent?

Lent: A Christian Perspective
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About the Author

Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

The Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes is the Minister of Maple Grove United Church, and is a member of the Interfaith Councill of Halton. A chatty extrovert with a conversational preaching style, a multi-tasker who is a “multi-worrier” when it comes to caring about people’s problems, and a leader who treasures teaming with the lay people in her church, Morar says that at Maple Grove she has experienced “a deeper level of ministry than I thought possible.” Anyone who has personally received Morar’s deeply compassionate caring and wise counsel will testify to what an inspirational, healing and encouraging ministry it is.

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Lent is a time of reflection and preparation for the coming of Easter. It often involves repentance, prayer, charity and sometimes fasting. The forty days represent the time Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness.

Lent refers to spring; the word means the lengthening of days. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends six weeks later with Easter Sunday. It is forty days long, with some traditions exempting Sundays as ‘little Easters’, celebrations of Jesus’ victory over sin and death.

The scriptures read during Lent explain why Jesus is going to be crucified. The stories reveal what Jesus says that upsets authorities.

Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, is often the reason for great celebrations like Mardis Gras (Fat Tuesday) and a time to use up eggs and oil that will be absent during Lent in pancakes.

This is followed by Ash Wednesday, when special services are held during which believers’ foreheads are smudged with ashes made from burning the palm branches used the previous year on Palm Sunday.

The oldest season in the Christian calendar, it finds its roots in the fourth century. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism.

Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or volunteering and giving of themselves for others.

Lent provides a chance to get rid of things that stand in the way of receiving God’s love, God’s grace, God’s mercy.