Why lent? Or more clearly, why lent if you're a low church evangelical protestant like me?
Observing the season of Lent is a historic Christian practice that provides a defined period of time to consider the finished work of Jesus, pursue humility under God’s mighty hand, and prepare for Good Friday and Easter in a focused way. A wise 11 year old I know says it’s “serious Easter”, which sounds about right. Something you should do - not necessarily. Something helpful for growing as a Christian - I think so.
I didn’t grow up with Lent. For the most part, the churches I’ve belonged to didn't do much with the Christian calendar beyond Advent and Holy Week. When I began serving at Kaleo I learned that the church has a history of tracking with the seasons of the church year, including Lent. Over the past few years I've enjoyed and benefitted from engaging with these historically rooted practices, albeit with a substantial learning curve. For example, I needed a quick tutorial on how to correctly impose ashes ahead of my first Ash Wednesday service to be sure I wouldn’t mess it up. I've needed similar "just in time learning" here and there over the past few years, and thankfully it's all worked out just fine.
If you're like me and could use a crash course, or if you would just like to deepen in your understanding, here are some good places to start.
Why Bother With Lent? - Chuck B. Coulson
Lent: Why Bother? - Steven R. Harmon, Frederica Mathewes-Green, and Michael Horton
Ash Wednesday: Practice and Meaning - Mark Roberts
Our church will be using this guide for Lent from The Village Church this year.