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Three Reasons Why We Practice Lent at the Vineyard

If you are new to the practice of Lent or if you grew up in a religious tradition that practiced Lent and you have some bad associations with it, you may be wondering why we practice Lent at the Vineyard? There are many reasons why we do so, but here are 3 good ones:

It is old

The practice of marking off the 40 days (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter as a time of repentance and spiritual preparation for the celebration of the resurrection is a tradition that dates all the way back to the early church in the third century.  Ash Wednesday began in the 8th century, which predates the split between Protestants and Catholics by 8 centuries.   So don’t think of Lent as Catholic thing, it is a Christian thing; and while we may practice it a bit differently than Catholics, Lutherans, or Methodists, we are all participating in something much older than any denominational differences.

It is helpful

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and a focus on repentance and looking within ourselves for anything unpleasing to God so that we might turn away from it.  Many people practice fasting (giving up social media or sweets or some other indulgence) during Lent as a way of cleaning out our soul from its dependance of things other than God.  Think of this as a form of spiritual spring cleaning, where we get down on our knees and scrub the junk out of ourselves.  This is an incredibly helpful rhythm for a growing disciple of Jesus to engage in.

It is Biblical

There are no Bible verses that mention Lent or Ash Wednesday, but the underlying meaning of Lent is about repentance and fasting and inwardly searching ourselves to become more devoted to Jesus—which are all extremely biblical ideas.  We see people doing this over a 40 day period many times in the Bible. Consider these examples:
  • Jesus spent 40 days of fasting in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing himself to begin his ministry.
  • The people of Nineveh repented of their sins with 40 days of fasting.
  • The Prophet Ezekiel lay on his right side for 40 days as a precursor to the siege and destruction of Jerusalem.
  • The Prophet Elijah fasted and prayed for 40 days on Mount Horeb.
  • Moses fasted 40 days and nights while on Mount Sinai.


I hope that you might consider participating in Lent with us this year.  Join us for our Ash Wednesday Service tonight (March 6) at 7pm in the Auditorium at the Desert Vineyard


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