The word “Lenten” is likely related to the Spring season when the days lengthen. It refers to the seven weeks leading up to Easter beginning on what is traditionally called “Ash Wednesday.” Some traditions have ash placed on their foreheads in ritual to represent mourning over sin. Nevertheless, Luther is more correct that all of life is to be one of repentance. Nonetheless, I can see how it might be edifying to the believer to take periods of time to reflect upon sin and the cross leading up to Easter, as well as to celebrate the forgiveness of sins he purchased for all who believe.
There are some wonderful books to read this time of year to consider Christ’s work on the cross.
- The Cross He Bore by Frederick Leahy
- A Violent Grace by Michael Card
- Ichthus by Sinclair Ferguson and Derek Thomas
- Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross by Nancy Guthrie
And there is even a very helpful tradition proposed with readings and definitions online by Noel Piper, called Lenten Lights.
As the days lengthen leading up to Easter, may the church find Christ’s sacrifice to be worthy of reflection and their hearts warmed by the revelation of His holy Word.
There is truth to the fact that for all who put their trust in Christ and His Cross, they will have a lengthening of days, eternally speaking, because their sins have been forgiven. That sounds like something worth celebrating, doesn’t it?