A Brief Introduction to Lent
In order to prepare us for our journey through Lent with the Lenten Reader here is a brief introduction to Lent.
In my mind winter equals drudgery. The snow, the cold, the ice, the layers of clothing, I find it all rather obnoxious. Every winter I hear myself and others ask, “Why do we live here in this frozen wasteland?” The undertone to that question is, “Why do we chose this for ourselves?”
Lent is the church’s winter wasteland. The forty days are in fact a reminder of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness which harkens back to Israel’s forty years of wandering in the desert. However, the question remains, “Why do we do this to ourselves?”
It is a good question. Why do we do strange things like put ashes on our foreheads? Why do we fast? Why do we bother with devotionals like this one? We do it because in these practices we find life. It may be difficult to give something up for Lent, but in doing so you might make more room for God. It may be a new and challenging habit to read Scripture every day, but in doing so you might hear from God.
Winter is rough in Canada and this has been an especially tough year, but always there is life. Putting ourselves in the wilderness of Lent gives us a clearer dependence on God. It is tempting to rush through these weeks of Lent toward Easter, just as it is tempting to rush toward Spring. But I encourage you to sit in the wilderness, read these passages of Scripture, learn from your brothers and sisters who have blessed us with their reflections.
Our journey this year begins with Genesis and walks us through the story of Israel. It is difficult to capture the entire story in only forty readings so we mostly hit the high and low points. The hope is that the narrative of Israel helps us better know the need for Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
While Lent itself is forty days, the Sundays within the season are not counted as part of that forty. Traditions that fast from something during Lent often do not fast on Sunday. It is in this vein that we do not have a devotional written for each Sunday. Instead there is a work of art depicting an event from Scripture.
Contributions for this project came from people all over the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada. Thank you to all who wrote for us this year. Special thanks to Allison Friesen for her help in editing the Reader.
May God bless you as you journey through Lent, to the cross, and experience the joy of His glorious resurrection gift.
~Julia Sandstrom, Lenten Reader Editor