Lent is a 40-day season of prayer, reflection, and repentance in preparation for the celebration of Easter that begins on Wednesday, February 17 and ends on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021.
Participate with us by downloading our 2021 Lent Guide.
We believe that many of the traditions of our faith can have rich impact and personal meaning.
What is Lent?
Lent is most often associated with the Catholic Church but is practiced by Christians across denominations. The 40 days of Lent are representative of the time Jesus spent in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11) before beginning His ministry which culminated in His death (Good Friday) and resurrection (Easter).
What is the purpose of Lent?
We believe that when properly understood and framed with the lens of the Gospel, Lent can be very helpful in aligning our focus and hearts with God’s heart leading to the celebration of Easter.
Is observing Lent required for Christians?
The Gospel, or good news, is that there is nothing we can do (including Christian practices) to earn salvation and the freedom from our sin. But, because of God’s great love and compassion on us and through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus, we are able to fully experience life forever in communion with God. This means that practicing Lent does nothing to save us, validate us, or gain us approval in the sight of God. Rather, Lent is a pathway to us remembering the price of our salvation and worshipping God from a place of humility.
To be clear: we do not believe Lent is a requirement for the Christian life but is helpful for centering our focus on Jesus and enhancing the significance of Good Friday and Easter.
We hope you will join us on this journey of preparing and aligning our hearts and minds on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Join the journey
How to Participate
Listen to our Lent playlist on Spotify & Apple Music.
The practice of observing the forty-day period leading up to Easter began in the Christian church during the third and fourth centuries.
Originally a preparation period for those desiring to be baptized, Lent lasts 46 days, including Sundays, between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. The 40 days (excluding Sundays) have obvious biblical parallels in the flood narrative (Gen. 6-8), the giving of the Law to Moses on Sinai (Exod. 24:12-18) and Elijah’s journey to Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:1-12). But the most relevant parallel is the account of Jesus’ fasting and temptation in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:9-12; Luke 4:1-13).
The word Lent itself is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words lencten, meaning “Spring,” and lenctentid, which means not only “Springtide” but also was the word for “March,” the month in which the majority of Lent falls.
Simply put: fasting brings our focus to the grace of God by withdrawing our dependence on earthly things so we can feast on God’s presence and power.
Fasting is not:
- A practice to demonstrate how pious or devoted we are
- A way to suffer in order to get closer to God (penance)
- A means of gaining salvation or righteousness in God’s eyes
- Repenting of sin (we don’t “fast” from sin, we confess it, receive forgiveness, and turn from it)
- A means for treating addiction (if you feel trapped in addiction, get into community at One Hope by completing a Next Steps form so we can help)
- A normal rhythm for someone following Jesus
- Complimentary to a vibrant prayer life
- A way of aligning yourself with the suffering of Christ
- A tool for evaluating habits both healthy and unhealthy and building greater dependence on God
- A joyful act of surrender so we can receive the strength and power of God (2 Cor 12:9-10)
- A means of developing wisdom as we learn to see the world through God’s eyes by intentionally separating from our normal behaviors
If you’ve never practiced fasting before, an easy way into the practice is to engage in a partial fast. A partial fast can involve food and drink, or certain habits. Here are some possibilities for a partial fast:
- Fasting from foods associated with “feasting”: chocolate, desserts, coffee/caffeine, alcohol, etc.
- Fasting from media or entertainment: cell phone, TV, streaming video, radio, music, email, computers, video games, etc.
- Fasting from habits and comforts: everything from shopping to riding elevators instead of taking stairs; what are your habits of comfort?
Here are some questions to help you discern a partial fast that will be challenging enough to be fruitful (from Aaron Damiani’s book The Good Of Giving Up: Discovering the Freedom of Lent):
- What cravings have a hold on me?
- What would be truly liberating to leave behind?
- Short of an addiction, have I become dependent on a particular food, drink, substance, or activity?
- What would be truly challenging for me to give up during Lent?
- What is Jesus asking of me?
As you pray through these questions, try picking one food or drink and one media, comfort, or habit to give up, and then share this with someone in a community group or family member as a way to embrace accountability.
The forty days of Lent begin on Ash Wednesday (February 17, 2021) and continue until Easter Sunday (April 4, 2021).
Easter Sunday / Lent Ends