Have you ever wondered why so my people talk about what they intend to “give up” for Lent?
Why is it that numerous Christians around the globe willingly abstain from their favorite food or beverage or whatever “pleasure” they feel they need to forgo for 40 days?
Is it merely about giving up sugar to be healthier, or could it actually be an invitation to something more profound?
Historically, the early Christians fasted for 40 days in memory of the time that Jesus spent fasting and enduring temptation in the wilderness before facing the crucifixion. The early believers were encouraged to share in the sufferings of our Lord by abstaining from all meat and wine during this Holy season and commit extra time to prayer. Through the years, Lent has expanded into a broader tradition that varies by church and individual, but its purpose remains the same. When we repent and mourn our sin, we acknowledge the weight of Jesus’s sacrifice for our salvation. It is a 40-day season of spiritual renewal that for most Christians begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday.
This tradition not only permits the faithful to remember and honor His death and resurrection. It also is an invitation for Christians to share in His sufferings and temptations – to deny ourselves and pick up our cross. The word “Lent” comes from the Old English word, “lencten,” related to “lengthen,” referring to the lengthening of days or the season of spring. This liturgical season coincides with springtime – calling to mind new life and growth.
During this time, we also seek the Lord in prayer by reading Sacred Scripture; serve by giving generously; and practice self-control through fasting.
This year, we invite you to participate in a 40-day reflective journey through Scripture and stories to expand your engagement with those who are vulnerable to exploitation. We hope that the daily readings will engage you in deeper understanding of:
- What the Bible says about human trafficking
- How we can love our neighbor
- What it means to live sacrificially
- How you are being called to serve in the world
This meditation and prayer guide provides a daily reading, prayer, or reflection to use throughout Lent. We hope you will join us this Lenten season in uplifting those who are vulnerable to human trafficking in warzones and exploring how God is inviting you to participate more deeply in the world.