Growing up Baptist I never knew of a church celebration entitled Lent. It was not that we necessarily taught against Lent, I just quite literally never heard of it mentioned in our church.
When I moved to New Orleans in 2000, I started hearing about this season of the church called Lent. Still, at the time, I only knew of it because Catholics would eat fish on Fridays during Lent. As I have grown in my understanding of liturgical practices, I have found that celebrating Lent is not just something to do, but I believe something that is absolutely necessary in our contemporary society. Allow me to share why.
The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of Christ’s passion and resurrection. Eventually it became a custom to prepare for a season of penitence and fasting. Though our modern understanding of Lent came along many centuries later, the season of Lent became a time when converts to the faith were prepared for Baptism. It was also a time when those who had fallen away were reconciled to the fellowship of the local church. From these practices, the entire congregation was placed into a mindset pardon and forgiveness as set forth in the Gospel of our Savior. It was a reminder to all Christians of the continual need for self-examination, repentance, and thanksgiving for the forgiveness of Christ.