What Is Lent and Why Should It Matter?

by Mike Tatem

For believers, the resurrection of Jesus is a big deal. Everything we believe in and everything we hope for is dependent upon the truth of the resurrection of Jesus. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:17, “…if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” The resurrection validates the forgiveness that is offered at the cross.

While we celebrate the resurrection every time we gather as a church, Easter establishes a specific time when the resurrection becomes the focal point of our teaching. The non-believing world expects us to be vocal about the resurrection at Easter and the church has traditionally leveraged this opportunity to celebrate this essential doctrine of our faith.

In the early centuries, the church set aside forty days of prayer and fasting to really prepare their hearts for their Easter celebration. They called this season Lent. The forty days commemorated the forty days that Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted by Satan and relying solely on God’s provision and protection.

Lent reminds us to seek the presence of God and His provision. We sometimes give up certain things that the world provides in order to focus our attention on what God provides. We practice spiritual disciplines such as praying, giving, and reading our Bibles more intentionally, especially if those disciplines have been neglected in the past.  Lent takes us to the cross where we find mercy and forgiveness and then places us outside an empty tomb where we find strength and life.

You are invited to join us on our journey to the cross during this season of Lent. Our Sunday morning services will focus on the miracles of Jesus as recorded in the gospel of John and culminate on Easter Sunday when we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with a special service at Memorial Stadium here in Lake City.

We have provided a Lent guide (from Village Church) for you to use during this time. It provides relevant passages of Scripture for reading and reflection and creative ways to fast that will help focus your attention on prayer. You can pick up this guide in our welcome center or download a copy here. I hope you will journey with us and that as you experience Lent you will come to a fresh and deeper understanding of your relationship with Jesus Christ.


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