Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lent History, Facts, and Contemplation

**"Our Lamb has conquered. Let us Follow Him."

Re-posted - second week of Lent, 2012.
First posted during the First Week of Lent, 2011. Bookmark if you wish to return to review thoughts and facts here.

  All churches that have a continuous history extending before 1500 observe Lent.
-Loretta Sword, Pueblo Chieftan

"Some people give up things during Lent. Others choose to develop a new habit, such as daily Bible verse, or reading, or a devoted time for prayer, and so forth."

Lent through History

1. Lent through history has been recorded differently. Some say it began in the first century (see list below), while others say it began in 325 A. D. (Anno Domini [Latiin], "Year of the Lord") as part of the Council of Nicea (hence, Nicene Creed). 
2. When Lent began, it was a 40-hour period of preparation, in keeping with the three days between Jesus' bodily death and bodily resurrection and appearance to His followers.
3. Third century, Lent became a six-day period called Holy Week. Holy Week extended to more than one month, 36 days, which are one-tenth, a tithe, of the 365 days of a year. 
4. Eighth century, reign of Charlemagne, saw four days added, making Lent 40 days. Added days included Ash Wednesday (repentance) plus three days leading up to the First Sunday of Lent. 
5. The Sundays of Lent are excluded from the 40-days counted for Lent, "for they are the Lord's Day, which includes a celebration of the resurrection..."*

Lent is a preparation.
Lent is set aside to help believers in Jesus Christ, Redeemer of the world, as they
prepare, worldwide, to rejoice in worship, remembering 
the Resurrection of Jesus, bodily, on the third day after His bodily death
on the Cross of crucifixion.

Facts of Contemplation during Lent

 We repent of our sins. 
Daily we are sorry for our sins. 
During Lent, as at any time, we make a special renewal of thanks to God
for relieving us of the burden of sin. 
Jesus began His public teaching saying, "Repent"; we search our hearts regarding 
hidden sin, known and deliberate sin, against God in the 
things we do, say, or think that our true lives as
children of God. 

We contemplate the forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ.  
We daily receive forgiveness from God as we confess and repent, desiring to keep ourselves
open to the Life and Light of God. During Lent we continue to
rejoice over the Lamb of God, "slain for the sins of the world." 

"...so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.
To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time,
apart from sin, for salvation (Hebrews 9:28-NKJV).
We joyfully, and with amazement, contemplate the Gift that God
gave the world:
His only begotten Son.

"For God so loved the world that He gave
His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him should not
perish but have everlasting life.

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn
the world, but that the world through Him 
might be saved" (John 3: 16, 17-NKJV).
We contemplate forgiveness, acceptance, 
and Eternal Life, through Christ

We strengthen our devotion, by faith (Acts 15:9).

We rejoice in Christ's Resurrection
and pray (John 17:17; 1 Tim. 4:5). 

We share.
We rejoice over the Resurrection of Jesus. In Him, we have love, hope, faith, fellowship, and service,
with the help of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
We rejoice in salvation, which we have by faith in Christ, the Lamb that was slain (Revelation 13).
We rejoice that in Christ we overcome whatever is against God: 
"Yet the devil's power and success are
limited. Christ has a chosen remnant, redeemed by his blood, 
recorded in his book, sealed by his Spirit; and though the devil and antichrist may overcome the body, and take away the natural life, they cannot conquer the soul, 
nor prevail with true believers to forsake their Saviour, and join his enemies. 
Perseverance in the faith of the gospel and true worship of God, in this great hour of trial 
and temptation, which would deceive all but the elect, is the character of those 
registered in the book of life. This powerful motive and encouragement to constancy, is the great design of the whole Revelation."
(from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the book of Revelation, chapter 13)

*Lent through history

**"Our Lamb Has Conquered"- the seal of the Moravian Church (photo),
Agnus Dei [Latin], meaning "Lamb of God."

(c) 2011-Opinari and Jean Purcell
Opinari [Latin]-think, reason, believe
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