Yesterday, the Western church celebrated Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40-day Lenten journey to Easter. That means today we have 45 days before we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord on Easter morning.
Wait…is that a typo? If there are 40 days in Lent and yesterday began the countdown, we have 39 days to go, right? Wrong. Easter arrives 45 days from today. You may think this is new math, but it isn’t. I’ll explain.
The earliest Christian followers were faithful Jews who honored the Sabbath as the Day of the Lord. Based on the creation story in Genesis, the seventh day was celebrated as a day God rested. Therefore, it was considered a blessed and hallowed day. However, the early church leaders viewed the death and resurrection of Christ as a new creation and consequently transferred the Sabbath to Sunday, the first day of the week. As a result, the Lord’s resurrection is celebrated not just on Easter Sunday but every Sunday.
The Lenten fasting season of forty days is to reflect upon the forty days Jesus fasted in the wilderness before he began his earthly ministry. However, since the Christians declared Sunday a day of celebration of the Lord, they would not permit fasting or penitential acts on that day. Therefore, fasting could only be allowed six days a week before Easter. That provision added six Sundays in Lenten Season, pushing back the start of the forty-day countdown to what we now observe as Ash Wednesday. That’s why we have 45 days remaining in our 40-day Lenten journey!
Join us for the First Sunday in Lent, the first time we pause the Lenten fast and penitential observances, this Sunday, February 26, as we celebrate the resurrection. Join us for worship this Sunday at 8:00 AM (spoken liturgy), 10:15 AM (contemporary liturgy), and 6:00 PM (healing service).