Just as there is a time to celebrate Jesus’ birth during Christmas, Christians set aside time to honor Christ’s death during a time of fasting, known as Lent. Lent comes from the term “lenten” which is a part of the historical Christian calendar and is a practicing of opening the hearts of Christians to hear God’s grace through prayer, confession, fasting and tithing as the church waits for Holy Week. Lent lasts for forty days, modeling after the forty days Jesus fasted in the desert before his capture and death. Today Lent is practiced formally and informally around the world to proclaim peoples’ faith or to celebrate a new habit forming (i.e. no soda or candy for forty days) and to be aware of what Jesus has done for us.
Lent starts on Ash Wednesday (this year Feb. 14) and ends on Thursday, Mar. 29, the day before Good Friday. For those practicing good faith and discipline during the forty days, this should prepare us for the days of celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus. Philippians 3:10-11 (ESV) says, “That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
On Feb. 14, faculty members, students and their families were welcomed to celebrate Ash Wednesday together in the morning before school. During this service, they received a message about the reminder of what is ahead in the Christian faith. Bible Department Chair, Glenn Archer said, “The one thing I love about the Lenten season is a heightened awareness of the death and resurrection of Jesus that is greater than any other time of the year. I love Easter because there is worldwide attention to the resurrection of Christ.” Hope is around the corner for believers because the Lenten season is a celebration of Jesus’ victory over sin and death.
The Wesleyan community encourages each other to stick with their goals during the forty days of fasting in order to lessen oneself and become more Christ-like. Senior Megan Gallagher said, “I like the idea of Lent because it helps you test and practices your self-control. So, I plan to give up Instagram.” Junior Stevie Crawford said, “Last year, I gave up desserts and soft drinks. I think Lent is a great opportunity to take a step back and think about what you make a priority in your life. Also, it is a great way to get fit.”
The Lenten season is a time of reflection and encouragement to humble ourselves while our focus on Christ is heightened. Rather than giving up chocolate or junk food, give up unkind words and replace them with kind words. This same idea applies to anything in life; fast from sadness, anger, pessimism and bitterness and replace them with something that is encouraging and optimistic towards others.