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March 1, 2017, 12:00 AM

Pastor's Post - March 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This March is very unique in a special way, both the month and Lent begin on the same day, Ash Wednesday, March 1. But what exactly is Lent? The word itself seems to come from the Latin word for lengthening and refers to days getting longer as spring approaches. But the season of Lent is one of the oldest observation on the Christian calendar. Like all Christian holy days and holidays, it has changed over the years, but its purpose has always been the same: self-examination and penitence, demonstrated by self-denial, in preparation for Easter. Early church father Irenaus of Lyons (c. 130-c.200) wrote of such a season in the earliest days of the church, but back then it was a severe fast that lasted 40 hours. This fast began on Good Friday at about 3:00p.m., the time that Christ died, and ended at sunrise (7:00am) on Easter. It was not the 40 days observed today.

In 325, the Council of Nicea discussed a 40-day Lenten season of fasting, but it's unclear whether its original intent was just for new Christians preparing for Baptism. Yet, exactly how the churches counted those 40 days varied. Some counted weekends and some did not. Even today there are differences. Some say Lent is the 40 days beginning with Ash Wednesday and going through Palm Sunday. Others say it is the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, minus Sundays in between. Regardless of the counting method, the observance has been strict, serious and marked by fasting. This fasting may have been a complete fast from all food for a whole day each week or a fast from certain foods, especially meat, one day each week. The modern practice of giving something up for Lent finds its roots in this fasting.

All of this has been done with one purpose in mind, to remind us of the true cost of our sin. Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, gave up His life so that we might live. This Lenten season, I hope that you will join me in daily thanking for our Savior for His sacrifice and setting aside each Wednesday as a time to formally worship Him.

In His Service,

Pastor Matt


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