Posted: 2020/02/25 in Uncategorized

marty graw

Ash Wednesday and Lent

This Wednesday, the season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday.  Ash Wednesday derives its name from the placing of ashes on our foreheads  saying, ” I Repent, and I believe in the Gospel” ,”I am dust, and to dust I shall return.  The ashes are prepared by burning palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebrations.

The  word Lent is a shortened form the word lencten, meaning “spring season”. The term Lent signifies the period 40 days before the Passover holiday. In modern Greek the term is Σαρακοστή (Sarakostí), derived from the earlier Τεσσαρακοστή (Tessarakostí), meaning “fortieth”. The corresponding word in Latin, quadragesima (“fortieth”), is the origin of the terms used in Latin.

  • Mosesspent 40 days on Mount Sinai with God (Exodus 24:18)
  • Elijah spent 40 days and nights walking to Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:8)
  • God sent 40 days and nights of rain in the great flood of Noah (Genesis 7:4)
  • The Hebrew people wandered 40 years in the desert while traveling to the Promised Land (Numbers 14:33)
  • Jonah’s prophecy of judgment gave 40 days to the city of Nineveh in which to repent or be destroyed (Jonah 3:4).
  • Jesus retreated into the wilderness, where He fasted for 40 days, and was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1–2, Mark 1:12–13, Luke 4:1–2).


There are traditionally 40 days in Lent; these days are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of surrender. The three traditional other practices during Lent are prayer, justice, and showing kindness to others.

Although not in the Bible, Ash Wednesday and Lent is a time of Christian renewal, started in the Twelfth Century. A tradition that continues today, that was started over a thousand years ago before most had access to scripture or could read them.

Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras the day before Ash Wednesday has become more important than Passover. A time of drunken partying in the streets… No need to explain that.


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