The 40 Days of Lent

The season of Lent this year is

Wed, Feb 22 (Ash Wed) through Sat, April 8 (day before Easter)

As you prepare for Easter, you're invited to share in the journey of Lent.

Lent is a time period with purpose. It’s a repeated season each year to help you take stock of your life. You’re invited to process with God experiences of recent months. You can be honest about your frailties, disappointments, and sin while you rejoice in God’s goodness and grace offered to you. Professor Esau McCaulley says, “we hope that as Christians we mature and grow and become more and more like Christ. But the church in its wisdom assumes we will fail, even after our baptism. The church presumes that life is long and zeal fades, not just for some of us but for all. So it has included within its life a season in which all of us can recapture our love for God and his kingdom and cast off those things that so easily entangle us.” 

During this time the spotlight is placed on God’s goodness and grace, even above whatever we may think we need. Simply put, we seek communion with the risen Lord. Such communion is experienced through both solitude and solidarity. 

Solitude provides undistracted one-on-one time between you and the resurrected Jesus. 

Solidarity invites you to share this journey with others as you grow alongside them.

In fact “journey” is a good word for this season. You’re going somewhere and with someone. You are moving toward Holy Week and Easter day. You’re also walking beside Jesus and in the company of each other.

Lent is 40 days before Easter counting each day except Sundays. It begins with Ash Wednesday (this year on Feb 22) and continues through Saturday, April 8 (the day before Easter).

How you might engage with Jesus this Lenten season 

(below are few of the many practices you might consider)

  • Pray
  • You might find this prayer meaningful as you approach the Lenten Season.
  • Begin with Ash Wed, Feb 22
  • Joel 2.15-17 is a traditional Scripture used on Ash Wednesday, “Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”
  • Professor McCaulley points out that the fast in the book of Joel is called in order to ward off judgment. The prophet Joel’s hope is not in the fast itself but in God’s character as the one who is “gracious and compassionate,” (Joel 2:13). McCaulley continues, “It is good news that God judges sin, because sin harms both individuals and societies. The sins of greed and lust lead to the exploitation of women, children, and the vulnerable. The sin of racism leads to the harm of Black and Brown people in this country. The sins of arrogance and pride put us above our fellow humans. The sin of idolatry gives our hearts over to something other than our Creator. The sins of gossip and slander create lies that destroy lives and communities.” 
  • Sin warps and ruins. But, God’s grace shines brightly!
  • Jesus is also read on Ash Wednesday and especially from Mt 6.1-6 when he discusses fasting and charity. Jesus reminds us about the potential for self deception. How easy it can be for spiritual acts to become performance before others instead of service offered to God. Let us remember that we’re seeking communion with the risen Lord.
  • Fasting 
  • Fasting reveals what controls you. Fasting helps you to attend to God in every area of life so he may fill you with his gracious presence. Read an excerpt about fasting by Richard Foster.
  • Listen to and/or read a teaching about fasting by Dallas Willard.
  • Fasting is actually feasting. While carefully setting aside something you depend on like food or purposefully interrupting your appetite for the thing that has become so important, like social media, you are reminded of the words of Jesus who said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” As you fast, be open to feasting by meditating on God’s Word
  • Meditate on God’s Word
  • One way of solidarity that worshipers at Tiburon Baptist Church can share is to meditate on common Bible passages for the six weeks leading to Easter. Because Sunday worship will focus on the 10 Commandments during this time, consider returning again and again during your times of solitude to read, reflect upon, and respond to God’s prompting in the following passages:
  • Exodus 20 (the 10 commandments)
  • Matthew 5-7 (sermon on the Mount, where Jesus in part interacts with some of the commandments)

Simple Bible Meditation Guide

  • Read the passage aloud (if you’re in a space that allows you to do so).
  • Read back over the passage again looking for three things:

Light Bulb

anything that shines out in the passage and

draws your attention; it can be something

repeated, or something that particularly

strikes you. Prayerfully ask God what He

would like you to see.

Question Mark

note anything that is hard to understand;

something that you would like to be able to

ask the author about.


prayerfully consider anything that applies personally to you. What is God nudging you to do in response to what you've read?

  • Write down at least one thing and no more than three for each category.
  • Share with a friend or group your light bulb.
  • Share with your friend or group your question mark(s) and then do your best to work out answers together from the passage (although you may not find an answer).
  • Share your arrow(s) with your friend or group.
  • Pray together with your friend about what you’ve learned.

For Further Reading

  • Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth  by Richard J. Foster is a highly practical introduction to spiritual disciplines 
  • The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God by Dallas Willard is an incredible deep dive into Jesus’ sermon on the mount
  • Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri Nouwen invites you into the spiritual movements of the Lord’s Supper and to consider how through God you are Taken, Blessed, Broken, and Given
  • Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God by Gary Thomas helps you identify and work in the predominate way in which you experience most robustly God’s presence and joy
  • The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives by Dallas Willard offers the reader great insights into how God’s Spirit shapes you
  • Satisfy Your Soul: Restoring the Heart of Christian Spirituality by Bruce Demarest invites you into Christian practices that lead you to know God as intimate friend
  • Devotional Classics by Richard Foster and James Bryan Smith summarizes the writings of ancient and recent Christians who have plunged deep in the experience of the risen Lord
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