What is Lent?
Treasure Chest of Formation Ideas, Activities & Resources by Sharon Ely Pearson ~ Church Publishing Inc.
What you Should Know about Lent ~ compiled by Merrill Noble 2009
What is Lent? ~ resource received in 2012 from a UCC educator colleague
The Meaning of Lent ~ Go back to the beginning with your teens to learn about the meaning of Lent
One way of explaining Lent is that it's a time to bring us closer to God. In our busy lives we fill our selves with candy, buy new toys, play video games and watch television which makes us happy but that happiness is temporary. During Lent we stop filling our lives with temporary happiness and make more room for God. The church encourages prayer, fasting and almsgiving during Lent as ways we can turn our hearts and minds to God. During this time we attempt to incorporate activities in our daily lives which will strengthen us. To learn how to sacrifice or give up things is a way of learning unselfishness.
Prayer is a biblical as well as spiritual tradition. Time spent in prayer is talking with God. It offers us a chance to reflect on our lives and the opportunity to ask for and receive forgiveness. Prayer draws us closer to God and strengthens our spiritual life. Consider using the Upper Room or the UCC Stillspeaking daily devotional to guide your prayer and devotional time.
Fasting has been observed since Biblical times. We learn that Moses fasted for 40 days before receiving the Ten Commandments and Jesus went into the Wilderness where he fasted for 40 days before beginning his public ministry. Some people "give up" a favorite food when fasting for Lent. Any activity or material item that takes time away from deepening our relationship with God can also be considered fasting.
Almsgiving is tied closely to fasting. Whatever we "give up", the money we save can be given to the needy. It is also considered that almsgiving is to give one's time and goods to those who are in need.