Today is Ash Wednesday, traditionally the first day of Lent for the Western Church. This marks the second year that the EXP community has observed Lent as a way to prepare ourselves spiritually for Easter. One popular way of observing Lent is the Lenten fast — you’ll hear people talk about “giving [something] up for Lent.” The idea is to select something you really enjoy (like coffee, or soft drinks, or watching television, or shopping) and do without it during the 40 days of Lent. In its place, add something like prayer or Scripture reading. When you find yourself longing for what you’ve given up, remember the sacrifice of Jesus.
Of course, giving up Dr. Pepper for six weeks hardly compares to the suffering of Jesus, but our small act of self-denial is a good way to keep his supreme act of self-denial at the front of our thoughts as we look forward to Easter.
Historical background of Lent (Christianity Today)
An excellent piece at Slate.com about the growing Protestant enthusiasm for Lent.
A comprehensive overview at CRI/Voice Institute.