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What Is "Lent, anyway?

By Rev. Rich Heinz 

Lent comes into English from a Latin word for “spring.” Simply put, this is a time of prayer and preparation, before celebrating the seven-week celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord, Easter.
The Gospel reading appointed for Ash Wednesday for centuries (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21), reminds us of the emphases of the season: fasting, almsgiving, and prayer.  In faith, we hold our Lord and others above our own needs and desires, and live out our faith; in other words, Lent is a time to refocus and “practice what we preach.”
As you live your daily lives, the most important thing is that you faithfully and regularly are receiving Jesus’ Holy Gifts of forgiveness in His preaching and Sacraments, and responding in your life of prayer.  This results in works of mercy, sharing yourself in your talent, work, and finances to help others.  It also keeps you focused on Christ, so that He frees you from cares in this world as you abstain or fast from certain things.
No matter what, among Lutherans, there are no rules or laws about from what or how much one should fast.  Nor are there rules or laws about how much you may give.  Rejoicing in the full and free forgiveness in Christ, you can delight in giving abundantly to Christ’s Church and the poor, refraining from excess, and increasing your reception of His Word and Sacraments in your life of prayer!