40 Days 2.21.21
Last week, Ash Wednesday began the 40 day period the church knows at Lent. Lent is an old Anglo-Saxon word that actually simply means “Spring.” In Christian history and tradition, it’s a period, in the Spring, set aside for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as a way to prepare for Easter and to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. It’s a time to get spiritually ready. To recognize our humanity, our mortality, and our total dependence upon God.
Lent is often a time we something up, not to get a reward from God, but to make space, to make room for more of Him in our life. To exchange a form of entertainment for more Bible reading. To give up meat or soft-drinks or sweets as a sacrifice to our Lord. The 40 days is a significant number (it does not count Sundays) and always has been throughout Biblical history. The flood lasted 40 days. Moses was on the mountain 40 days. Jesus fasted and prayed in the wilderness for 40 days. After the resurrection, Jesus walked the earth 40 days before returning to heaven.
It’s also interesting to note that if you study human behavior, you’ll find that 40 day periods have begun to surface as a more accurate estimation of how long it takes to change something in your life. We used to believe a habit was developed in 21 days but newer research tells us the reality is 6 weeks, or approximately 40 days.
So we begin Lent. We have 40 days to usher in a new season in our own lives. To turn away from something and toward something else and to allow our life to honor God more deeply and to live the life you’ve been called to live. What will you do the next 40 days?