Lent is the period of 40 days before Easter in the Christian calendar; it is a time of reflection for many Christians as they prepare to remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What is Lent?

For some, Lent is a 40 day period of giving up chocolate, caffeine, sugar or something else after Pancake Day.  Traditionally, it’s seen as a time in which to reflect upon the life and death of Jesus.  However much we already know about Lent, the story of Lent is one which reminds us of why it is marked by so many around the world.

The arrival of Lent is characterised by pancakes!  Shrove Tuesday, a day highly anticipated by all pancake lovers, is traditionally a day of preparation before the season of Lent begins. The 40 days of Lent represent the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness at the start of his ministry.  Jesus fasted during his time in the wilderness, and so Christians identify with his suffering by abstaining from particular foods during this time, including meat, fish, milk and egg products.

Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the ritual of ‘shriving’.  This 1,000 year old practice involves a person confessing their mistakes, and receiving absolution for them before Lent begins.

Starting Lent

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, a day of penitence or cleansing of the soul.  Many Christians will attend Lent services, and be marked with a cross of ashes on their forehead. This is a sign of mortality, based upon the idea from the book of Genesis that humankind came into the world from dust and will return to it.  It is a time to express sorrow over sin, and a reminder that Jesus brings freedom from sin.  The following 40 days are an opportunity to remember Jesus’ death.

From Church of England Children’s Society (https://bit.ly/2NEFSSr)

The call to climate action has got louder and for Lent 2019, Christians are being invited to respond by making significant lifestyle changes.

During Lent, which starts on 6 March, the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) – on behalf of the United Reformed Church (URC), Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland and the Methodist Church – is hosting “Living Lent: Creating a climate of change”.

For example, could you: go meat free?  Take up alternative forms of transport?  Commit to an hour ‘electricity free’ every day?  Give up single use plastics?  Commit to buying goods produced within 30 miles of where you live?  Commit to buying nothing new?  Read more.