We cannot understand the significance of this season of Lent unless we understand the centrality of Easter to the Christian faith. As early as the Day of Pentecost, Jesus’ followers realized that the Christian faith rises or falls on the Resurrection of Jesus. To the Jews gathered in Jerusalem on Pentecost, Peter said Christ had been raised from the dead and “exalted at the right hand of God.” The Holy Spirit, he said, had been poured out as a result. In this article, Jamie Cain delves into Lent as practiced by Eastern and Western traditions. He rounds out his article with a few spiritual practices for consideration.
Psalm 51 is the traditional prayer of Ash Wednesday which marks the start of Lent, the penitential season that prepares us for the feast of Easter. As a whole, it sets a well-ordered rhythm for the entire 40 days of self-examination. Beginning with God’s mercy we face our own disorder with vulnerable honesty before God, moving with the humble gratitude of a restored heart into teaching others and, finally, praying for Peace in Zion and the nations of the world.