OTTERBURNE, MB – For many of us who follow the liturgical calendar, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lent season. It’s a 46-day countdown (40 weekdays plus six Sundays) to Easter. It’s intended to be symbolic of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting, praying, and being tested in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11).
Some believers choose to participate in a 40-day fast (Sundays are excluded), and “give up” something for Lent albeit sugar, meat, or rich food. Others choose to fast from TV, entertainment, or social media. But for all, it’s supposed to be a time to pray and reflect; to meditate on scripture and position ourselves to listen to and receive from Jesus Himself.
The seven days before Easter are called Holy Week. Many Christian traditions reflect on the last days of Jesus before His crucifixion, remembering His death and its significance to us. Everything concludes on Good Friday, and as we celebrate Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Our own Dr. Christopher Lortie, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, has recently written a blog entitled Doing Lent Justice, and he argues that Lent is more than a liturgy or spiritual discipline, “Fasting and practicing the other aspects of Lent should result in the eyes of the people to open to the injustice around them and then inspire them to work for change.”
He explores through Old Testament scripture how the practices of Lent are intertwined. Prayer helps align our desires with God’s, while fasting attunes ourselves to the needs of others. And then, almsgiving propels us to work for positive change and address the injustices we see in this world. You can read more of Dr. Lortie’s blog HERE.