133. What is Lent and the Lenten season?

Lent is the Christian season of spiritual preparation before Easter. It’s observances begins with Ash Wednesday which marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent. Lent begins 40 days prior to Easter, but Sundays are not included in this calculation. During this time many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on the suffering of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. Not all Christian churches observe Lent. Lent is mostly observed by Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican denominations. Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches observe Lent during the 6 weeks or 40 days preceding Palm Sunday with fasting continuing during the Holy Week. Lent for Eastern Orthodox churches begins on Monday, called Clean Monday, and Ash Wednesday is not observed.The Bible does not mention the custom of Lent, however, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in 2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3; and Matthew 11:21. It’s primary purpose is to identify with the humility and suffering of Christ and His willingness to obey His Father’s commands even unto death.