Lent is the season of the church year that immediately precedes Easter. The Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts for 40 days. The forty days of Lent recall the 40 day fast of Jesus in the wilderness after his baptism and Moses' 40 day fast on Mount Sinai of prayer, service, and self-examination. As early as the mid-fourth century, Christians have observed a time of preparation before the Easter celebration.
Originally, “Lent” was nothing more than the English name of the season between winter and summer, the season when the snow melts and the flowers bloom. In German, “Lenz” is the poetic word for “spring.” In Dutch, the word “lente” never changed its meaning. It is still the name of the season between winter and summer, and it is still used with that meaning in everyday life. The church's observance of the time before Easter took place during the season of lent. In England, “Lent” came to mean the observance rather than the season, leaving the season without a name. Instead of saying stupid things like “Lent happens during lent,” English-speaking people invented the word “spring.” Today, instead of calling the seasons winter, lent, and summer, we call them winter, spring, and summer. We use “Lent” instead of “spring” when we refer to the church season. Traditionally the Western Church does not include Sundays in the days of Lent as these are celebrated as little Easters, days to remember the Resurrection of Christ.
As early as the mid-fourth century, Christians have observed a time of preparation before the Easter celebration. It is a time of simplicity and preparation, of study and self examination. At Good Shepherd we encourage these observances and offer tools to help in your preparation. The following links will take you to many places; from Daily Bible Reading to ways to join weekly with others on the same Lenten Journey as you.
The following links are in response to Pastor Olsen's invitation to take a few minutes a day during the remainder of Lent to deepen your understanding of our basic beliefs. They access portions of the ELCA website. Why should you go to all the trouble to learn what we as ELCA Lutherans profess to believe? Well that is simple. I want to encourage your study because what we profess and stand for is nothing shy of God's all-inclusive, all-powerful, all-forgiving, and all-loving grace!