On Wednesday, February 22nd, we begin a ninety day journey starting with Ash Wednesday (‘turn from sin and remain faithful to the Gospel’) and moving through Palm Sunday (Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem on a donkey), Maundy Thursday (the last supper with Jesus and his disciples), Good Friday (Jesus’s death on the cross), Resurrection Sunday (Jesus’s resurrection from the dead), Ascension Day (Jesus’s return to heaven), and finishing on Pentecost Sunday (the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church).
This ninety day journey is comprised of forty days of Lent and fifty days of Easter celebration. Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter.  It was a time when Christians rededicated themselves to their declaration to follow Christ and where new converts to Christianity were instructed in their faith and prepared themselves for baptism.
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of the Season of Lent and its name comes from the practice of marking worshippers’ foreheads with ashes in the shape of a cross.   This act echoes the ancient tradition of placing ashes over one’s head to signify repentance before God.  It is also a sign of humility before God—a symbol of mourning and sorrow at the death that sin brings into the world.   (Job 42:3-6, Luke 10:13) It is a day in which we are invited to intentionally reflect on what Jesus wants to change in our lives as we follow him.
Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance.  It is a season for reflection and taking stock.  We all bear the collateral damage of sin.  It has caused brokenness in who we are as people, in our relationship with our Creator, in our relationships with one another, and in our relationship with creation itself.  Jesus came to us to demonstrate the love of God and to make it possible for creation and Creator to be reconnected.  Jesus’s journey to the cross was motivated by love and driven by the intention to repair, heal, forgive, and make all things new.  His love is so deep and devoted that it compelled him to give up his own life so that his intention would come to fruition.
Another connection to the season of Lent is in imitating Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days to fast.  Fasting is a spiritual discipline that forces us to contemplate sacrifice and denial.  Quite often our bodily appetites control our actions.  One purpose of fasting is to work at making  our bodily appetites servants to us rather than masters of us.  In this respect fasting does not solely pertain to food. 
The idea of ‘giving up’ something for lent is rooted to fasting.  It’s about ‘giving up’ an activity or object in order to create the opportunity to reflect on Christ’s sacrifice, to revisit Christ’s call to deny one’s self, to take inventory of our hearts and to confess to God any sin of which we need forgiveness.  In the end it’s really about intentionally creating space for God to enter into our lives and  re-focus our living as we contemplate what it means to ‘turn from sin and remain faithful to the gospel.’
When Jesus was asked to identify the greatest commandment, he responded by saying, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  He then went on to say the second is like:  ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed intentionality during Lent are prayer, fasting and almsgiving (giving to the poor and caring for our neighbours). These practices can be helpful in deepening one’s  love for God and neighbour.

We have made several devotional resources available which are designed to aid in your journey through Lent.  They can be found in the church foyer or downloaded from this webpage.