“Much like the weeks-long build up to Christmas that is the season of Advent, Lent provides the backdrop for the coming Easter celebration.”Pastor Jeremy Olimb
The Lenten season is celebrated widely across Christian traditions around the globe in all three of the major branches of the Christian faith. Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox believers of many types have continued to practice this formal preparation time in the 40 days leading up to the celebration of Easter. While following the date assigned for our yearly Easter celebration which varies from year to year (If you’d like to learn more about how that day is calculated you can read up here), the beginning of the season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and is a 40 day period of observance that culminates with the resurrection celebration of Easter morning. No one is quite sure when the tradition of celebrating this extended season in the run up to Easter began but it is clear that it was formalized across the church by the time of the council of Nicea in 325 AD. While it seems like it initially began as a practice of cleansing and fasting for new converts to the faith to prepare for their baptism, it quickly became a standard practice across all parts of the church in preparation for the celebration of Easter. The 40 days of the season coincide with the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert fasting before beginning his ministry. Likewise, Christians who celebrate the Lenten season will focus on fasting to share in this experience with Jesus.
These next few weeks at Redemption Gilbert, we would love to help you focus on the life and work of Jesus as we begin the march toward the cross and beyond it, the resurrection. We have asked our Redemption Gilbert pastoral team to reflect on key moments and scripture in the life of Jesus that lead up to the confrontation with and victory over death itself that we remember on Easter weekend. We pray that these selections from the Gospels will draw you closer to the life of Jesus. We ask that God would be gracious to us and allow us to better experience the faithful work of his life, death and resurrection. We believe that a people who are invited to be with Jesus, who listen to his voice and who follow in his footsteps will be the kind of people who live in grace and freedom He supplies.