Lent is more than giving up chocolate or alcohol, although those can be instructive sacrifices. Early Christians observed “a season of penitence and fasting” in preparation for the Paschal feast, or Pascha. 

Many Episcopalians have discovered that they find spiritual growth and value in using Lent to spend focusing on others. Instead of giving something up, think about taking something on, such as giving to some ministry or group who is making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

In the western church the forty days of Lent extend from Ash Wednesday through Holy Saturday, omitting Sundays.  Sundays are not included because they are feast days – “little Easters.” The last three days of Lent are the sacred Triduum of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. All Christians are invited in the Book of Common Prayer “to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.”

Lent is:

  • A time to be more aware of what it means for God to love us unconditionally;
  • A time for giving up things that keep us from loving God and God’s people fully;
  • A time for taking on disciplines that will help us grow closer to God;
  • A time to look at the things we do that are wrong or that tempt us, asking God’s and other people’s forgiveness;
  • A time to root ourselves more deeply in the salvation we have in Christ.

Click here for a list of local Episcopal Churches.

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