Pastors: Lent is about repentance

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Christians around the world will be given the sign of the cross with ashes for Ash Wednesday today, which begins the Lenten season that culminates at Easter.

Lent is the 40-day-and-night period of reflection, repentance and fasting that helps people to draw closer to God, local pastors said.

“It’s specifically a time of reflection as we spend time walking with Jesus to the cross,” First United Methodist Church Pastor Dr. Deborah Bishop said. “A lot of people will give up something, like chocolate and then get a full basket of it at Easter.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Bishop said she encourages people to pick something and make it a better habit, instead of giving up something for Lent.

“I had one woman at my previous church give up yelling at her husband for Lent,” she said. “There was another who decided to not take the first parking spot, and spend the time walking and praying.

“I really encourage people to do that,” she said. “Do something you can keep doing that you spent time on in the journey.”

St. Bellarmine Catholic Church Fr. Jay Arulappan said Lent consists of three things — prayer, penance and alms giving.

“It’s nice to give up things, like giving up eating meat on Fridays,” he said. “It’s a good act and it’s good for your health.”

Arulappan said his parishioners are anxious to get the Lenten season underway.

Another way to give up something for Lent is to go out of your way to help the poor and needy, Arulappan said.

Bishop said Lent is also a time to prepare ourselves for the resurrection.

“We look at who we are and see why we need the resurrected Jesus,” she said. “We’re not perfect.”

After 35 days, the Lent season turns to the start of Holy Week, which leads up to Easter.

Bishop emphasized that people shouldn’t forget the time in between Palm Sunday (of Holy Week) and Easter, which includes Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (Jesus’s crucifixion).

“It’s still enough time to stop and remember,” she said. “We have moments to reflect again on the sacrifice he made for you as an individual.”

The Ash Wednesday service at FUMC is at 6:30 tonight. At St. Bellarmine, services are at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. today.

Throughout Lent, FUMC will host Lenten Lunches with other churches on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of each week with a guest speaker.