A Brief Introduction to Lent

At the time of this writing, I find myself 36 weeks pregnant. By the time Ash Wednesday begins-baby willing-I will officially be a mom. The thought is still both thrilling and terrifying all at once.

When I’ve considered what to give up for Lent each year, the decision has been in my court. This year sleep, long showers, personal time, and everything else a woman gives up to be a mom are on the table. For eight months already I’ve lived without a few of my favourite things: soft cheeses, sushi, red wine, and my normal wardrobe to name a few.

Giving something up for a time is a challenge. The traditional practice of fasting during the 40 days of Lent takes this challenge to a spiritual level. We do not fast for the sake of flexing our spiritual muscle, we fast for a purpose. Much like a pregnant women goes without certain food and drink for the purpose of keeping her baby healthy, we fast during Lent to keep our spiritual lives healthy.

The tradition of fasting comes from Jesus’ forty days of fasting in the wilderness prior to his temptation and subsequent formal ministry. I would encourage you to choose something to abstain from during Lent. You may choose to forego chocolate or Facebook. The hope is that you would be with God in that time that would normally be spent on Facebook. Or that you would take every urge to eat chocolate as a reminder to pray or read Scripture. There are no hard and fast rules so consider how you can go without this Lent in order to make more space and time for Jesus Christ.

Whether or not you decide to fast from something during Lent the hope for this Lenten Reader is that by adding this daily devotional to the season, you will grow in discipleship. This year we are walking through the entire Gospel of John. Some days have more Scripture to read than others because it is hard to split certain passages up. There are no readings on Sundays as Sunday is not included in the 40 days of Lent. There is a final reading on Easter Sunday however.

Contributions for this project come from all over the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada with some guest contributors from Covenant Offices in Chicago, Illinois. Thank you to all those who wrote for us this year. Special thanks to Hanne Johnson for her assistance in editing.

May the words of John’s Gospel and the Word who came to dwell among us and ultimately to give himself up for us encourage you, challenge you, and deepen your walk.

Julia Sandstrom