We are now in the season of Lent - the 40 days (not counting Sundays) preceding Easter Sunday - a reminder of the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness after his baptism. It was a time of fasting and temptation for Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13). Since the 6th century, Lent has been observed as a period of instruction and preparation for baptism for those who wanted to become a part of the church.
Unlike Christmas, which is observed on the same date each year, the date of Easter changes. The date on which Easter is celebrated has been a point of conflict among different Christian traditions over the centuries, but in the 4th century the date of Easter in the western church was established as the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox (the beginning of Spring). Depending on the phase of the moon, Easter can be as early as March 22, or as late as April 25. This year, Easter Sunday will be relatively early - April 1, which also happens to be April Fools Day!
One of the traditions of Lent has been fasting - refraining from eating for a certain period, or just from certain foods, such as meat on Fridays. Many Christians no longer follow a strict observance of Lent. But fasting of some kind can be a way to discover habits that control our lives. If you don’t want to fast from chocolate, perhaps you might consider fasting from TV, or the internet, or social media for one day a week or more. How about fasting from unkind words? Or fast from us-ing and wasting energy - go without driving the car one day a week.
Or maybe Lent might be a time to take on something new, like spending time in prayer or meditation each day, or doing an act of kindness.
Whatever you do to deepen your spiritual life, may God bless you during this sea-son of Lent. I hope you fast enough to discover your deep hungers, and find soul-satisfying bread for your journeys.
Bob von Trebra