Preparing for Lent! Why?

Mark Anthony's picture

Having been in more or less the Arminius Camp for over 25 years, I found the Lord calling me to serve within a Conservitive Lutheran Church, which is as you guessed, reformed. I like the balance the history of the church has labored over since 1530 AD. It has a great stability that is comforting to me. But I still have questions about some church traditions and holidays.

Since I will be teaching the Adult Bible Class at our local church during the Lent/Easter Season, I thought I would prepare a five week lesson plan explaining the history and purpose behind this holiday. There will also be a devotional theme to these lessons, hence the reason for Lent.

My reason for posting is to find like minded students of God's word to help in my understanding of Lent.

I will post the Lessons as I finish them, this will be fun as well as a learning experience. These can be found in a New Group, "Preparing for Lent! Why?"

Micah 6:8

dmlq48's picture

Hi De Maria

I think Tony meant, the "Preparation of/called Lent," but I want to point out that the historical church (in the east, at least) does prepare even for Lent (they prepare to prepare).

In the study, mentioned by Robert, I hope to contribute how the east structures the Sundays of Lent (Sunday of Orthodoxy, Sunday of Gregory Palamas, Sunday of the Cross, Sunday of John Climacus [Ladder], Sunday of Mary of Egypt, and, finally, Palm Sunday). However, before Lent beings we have prep Sundays:

Sunday of Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-10): this Sunday looks forward to the fast. Just as Zacchaeus climbed the tree in anticipation of Christ, so we too must climb the "tree" (go through Lent) in anticipation of Christ's resurrection.

Sunday of Publican and Pharisee (Lk 18:10-14): this theme is repentance. Lent is the season we repent of our sins. Repentance, or change of mind, is the start of our journey through Lent to Pascha.

Sunday of Prodigal Son (Lk 15:11-32): this theme is also repentance. This story teaches us that sin is an exile from God, and we must make the resolve to return home.

Sunday of the Last Judgment (Mt. 25:31-46): the previous two Sundays spoke of God's patience and limitless compassion, but even he doesn't forgive those who don't repent. This Sunday is a "last call," if you will, reminding us that we should turn back to God while there is still time.

And, finally, the Sunday before Lent: There are two themes on this Sunday, the expulsion of Adam from paradise, and forgiveness. Lent is a time we weep with Adam and Eve before the closed gates of Eden, but it is also our return to paradise. The second theme is emphasized in a special service where every church member goes around asking forgiveness of one another. This is to remind us there is no repentance with God if we, at the same time, are not reconciled with our fellow man. Our asceticism and fasting during Lent should not separate us from one another, but bring us closer together.

Finally, after FIVE Sundays of preparing for Lent, we are now ready for Lent! So, yes, De Maria, there is such a thing as preparing for Lent, and, half of the Christian world (Orthodoxy being the second largest denomination in the world after Catholics) undergoes this process! I wonder, if in historical Catholicism, there is also such a preparatory period?

P.S. We also start fasting from meat in one of these prep weeks mentioned above (so one Sunday is also called Meat-fare), and another week mentioned above we start the fast from cheese (so one Sunday is called Cheese-fare). So in all, Orthodox fast much longer than 40 days. Also, Holy Week is not a part of Lent, it's a separate season that takes us to the Resurrection. But, it is also a fast week, so add another 7 days to the fast.


"Lord have mercy on me a sinner."


"Blessed art You O Christ Our God
You have revealed the fishermen as most wise
By sending down upon them the Holy Spirit
Through them You drew the world into Your net
O Lover of Man, Glory to You!" -Pentecost Troparion