The Lenten Journey
The tradition of Lent can be traced back to the second century. During this time, new Christians would prepare for baptism through fasting and study. By the year 325 AD, the time of preparation had been extended to forty days. Entire congregations practiced Lenten disciplines as a sign of Christian discipleship. Soon after, the church determined that the Lenten period of renewal should correspond to Christ’s forty-day fast in the wilderness. These Christians counted forty days back from Easter (excluding Sundays), to determine the time frame of the Lenten journey. This number also calls to mind other significant biblical events, like the forty days Noah and his family spent in the ark and the forty years God’s people wandered in the desert after being rescued from Egypt. Lent reminds us that all of these stories point to Jesus, the fulfillment of salvation history.