I didn’t know. Really. I’m not kidding. I’m 40 now and I didn’t know what Lent was. Well, I have looked it up before, but I forgot. So I looked it up. This website says What is lent
“Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means “spring.” The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others”
So now I know. However, let me say the reason I don’t know what lent is – is two fold. I went to a baptist church from age 16 to age 31. Briefly stopped for a few years and went right back to another baptist church at age 34 and did that for 2 more years until 2011. And as a baptist, we were not told to “repent” before Easter. We were told that repentance happened when one got “born again”. Also, we were not told to ‘Reflect” on our actions ONLY before Easter. This happened each and every time we had “The Lord’s Supper” and while at Hyles-Anderson College, “Preacher” (as he was often called) or Dr. Jack Hyles would say “Look at the bread” or “Look at the wine” and then he’d say “LOOK AT IT”. I still remember his voice. You see, I attended Hyles Anderson College for four long years and I attended First Baptist Church of Hammond for FOUR long years, every single Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. I think I missed one semester of the normal church service since I was doing my “service time” with the kids. I was putting in “my hours” of service. You know, serving others.
So that’s why I don’t know what lent is. We also didn’t practice Ash Wednesday. We never put any ash on our heads. Baptists don’t do that. So the first time I saw someone was something black on their head (around 2008) it was literally a culture shock for me! I remember tutoring two youth and it became very obvious for me – right away- that this family may have been Catholic. I know that they do things that baptists don’t do. I’ve been to three Catholic funerals and one thing that is different is the water. Its “holy”. They also have holy steam that they put around the casket. Baptist don’t do this. Before 2008 (I must have been about 33 then) I really never saw anyone with ash on their head – sorry. I mean ash between the eye brows. It is not placed on the crown of the head.
So now I can explain to my friend why I never understood what lent was and we never celebrated lent or Madi Gras or Ash Wednesday. Repentance was done when one got saved. It wasn’t something we had to do like “Turn from your sins” again and again.
For me now? I’m not going to write out a long post about this. I’m simply put. Agnostic and a secularist. I don’t know if there is a god and if there is one – okay. If I come to that concluding that I feel the need to believe in a god sometimes – I would probably keep it to myself SINCE I think there are must more important things to address on Earth. Homelesssness is one of them. Poverty. Animal abuse. Gay rights. Those things are important. Questions like “Is there is a god?” or ‘Don’t you believe in Jesus?” Or even “Don’t you believe that Jesus was a real person” are just not that important to me. I want to focus on issues I can see. I can see homeless people outside. I can see poverty. I can see how much money I earn and how my income is below poverty level. I can help myself and then help others once I’m good. But you know what?
I’ve seen the people that have the least, give the most.