A Season For All Men

"The Teutonic word Lent, which we employ to denote the forty days’ fast preceding Easter, originally meant no more than the spring season. Still it has been used from the Anglo-Saxon period to translate the more significant Latin term quadragesima (French carême, Italian quaresima, Spanish cuaresma), meaning the ‘forty days’, or more literally the ‘fortieth day’. This in turn imitated the Greek name for Lent, tessarakoste (fortieth), a word formed on the analogy of Pentecost (pentekoste), which last was in use for the Jewish festival before New Testament times. This etymology, as we shall see, is of some little importance in explaining the early developments of the Easter fast." – Catholic Encyclopedia

Lent starts early this year. Ash Wednesday is February 9. That’s just two weeks away. Are you planning on performing any acts of penance? Being a Catholic convert from fairly high-church Lutheranism, I don’t know much about "low-church" Protestant observances of Lent or lack thereof. I’d like very much to know how non-Catholics, particularly Evangelicals and liberals/progressives, observe Lent.

If you are a Protestant (of any flavor), I have a mission for you, should you choose to accept it (queue Mission Impossible music). I’d like to know how you, your church, and/or your denomination observe (or don’t observe) Ash Wednesday and Lent. If you don’t have a blog, please consider leaving a comment to tell me what Lent means to you. If you do have a blog, please consider writing a post about what Lent means to you. Trackback this post and I’ll write a carnival-like post to tie the entries together. Also, please promote this meme on your blog. Thanks in advance. 🙂

Comments 5

  1. Amy wrote:

    Adding to what Funky said, a standard of Catholic observance of Lent also includes abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays of Lent, as well as fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. (Fasting being defined as one full meal, two small meals, and no snacks in between)
    In addition to giving something up, some people also try to do something extra, sort of like giving up their free time.
    My mother makes a point of participating in the Stations of the Cross during Lent.
    At her parish, the priest offers an extra weekday Mass one evening a week if parishoners would like to attend Mass more than on Sundays but can’t attend in the mornings.
    My last two years at college, I visited with the sisters at the motherhouse once a week.

    Posted 27 Jan 2005 at 10:29 pm
  2. Funky Dung wrote:

    For the uninitiated, here’s a Catholic Encyclopedia article about the Stations of the Cross.

    Posted 27 Jan 2005 at 10:44 pm
  3. Andrew Nichols wrote:

    I’ll chime in with Steve on all points as far as my personal experience and denominational experience goes.

    But I am curious what kinds of traditions are often/normally observed. I’m looking into doing something different and could do with some suggestions.

    Posted 27 Jan 2005 at 9:37 am
  4. Steve N wrote:

    I’ve been an evangelical for nearly all my life and never even heard of lent til I moved to NJ and started reading alot of Catholic/ecumenical stuff (e.g., First Things). I know of no low protestant church, much less denomination, that observes, in an organized way, any discipline of sacrifice (other than plopping $$ in the offering plate). When such disciplines are (re)discovered by my people, they are treated as a great novelty, oohed and aahed over, practiced with great enthusiasm for about a week, considered “optional,” and ultimately (re)forgotten.

    My $0.02

    Posted 27 Jan 2005 at 6:14 am
  5. Funky Dung wrote:

    The most common tradition I know of is giving something(s) that are dear for the duration of Lent. Some people wuss out and pick something easy to do without. Others pick something that’s a real challenge. I’ve given up caffeine for Lent in previous years. This year, I’m limiting my beverage consumption to water and 100% fruit juice. I’m also going to watch less TV (still negotiating with wife about how much less).

    Here’s a Wikipedia article on Lent.

    Posted 27 Jan 2005 at 1:26 pm

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 1

  1. From Ales Rarus - A Rare Bird, A Strange Duck, One Funky Blog » What Does Lent Mean to You? on 03 Apr 2006 at 11:56 am

    […] [A previous post didn’t get the attention I’d hoped for, so I’m republishing it. – Funky] […]

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