Friday, February 27, 2009


Wednesday was Ash Wednesday which signifies the beginning of Lent. the time in which the people of God Corporately fast. Fast from what ever they choose but still fast. It is a tradtion that has only recently become popular for the protestant church to participate in. however it has a long standing history.

this semester I am taking a class called history of the sacriments and for class yesterday the reading was on lent and it's origins.

it has its roots in the Fast day before Pascha, a christian celibration of passover with the crusifiection and the day in which people were baptised. those who would be baptised on Pascha were encouraged to fast for the day, many were encouraged to fast for a week. in the 3rd centrury it was common for people to fast for the three weeks prier to thier baptism was they were going through the Catechumens (teachings about the christian faith). in the fourth century from the influence of the monastic-asetic movement it became custemary for the faithful to goin in the pre-baptism fast as a way of taking a kind of refresser course on what they belived. this was when it extended to begin on the 6th or 8th sunday before easter depending on where one lived.

It is called a 40 day fast because at the time (and continuing today) people did not fast on sunday, and in some places they did not fast on saturday either. the Forty days became offical in the 7th century. This is also when ashes were added, which originated in Gaul (modern France). and that was conected to penince for someone who had commited a grevus sin. this however was not the prominent reason for the fast.

it was orignially a way to get people to fast, fasting is an importaint disopline of the church and through scripture we see that God works through fasts. it also became a method of teaching. during this fast people would learn and be remeinded about what they belive as christians.

most importaintly though, i belive, is that it was a way to promote unity in the Church Universal. after the church became the religon of the empire there became many slack christians, Lent was to be a corporate even of the church in which everone fromthe bishop down to the humblist catechumen lived at least for as season as a member of the ody of christ.

during this time of nominal christians the purpose of lent was to also remind the careless and the sinful christians of the claims of the christian standard:

"Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind"
Romans 12:2

So as you enter this lental season may God bless you and may you always be a member of the body of Christ.

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