I mean no disrespect in the things I am about to say concerning Lent, but in all honesty, for Protestants, I just don’t get it? And even the Catholics have so watered down the event from its original form that it cast major shadows over its validity to begin with. It’s just another tradition of man, not even officially recognized until 325 AD. A lot of changes occurred with the church during the time of Roman Emperor Constantine, who was not saved, but a pagan man at least until his death. This also cast a great shadow over it. Why was the church so influenced by him?
Some like to say the Apostles started Lent, but our Bible, and all early church writings do not support that, so why do they try to make it look that way? I’m not saying it can’t be useful, because anytime someone truly fast and prays to God, it is good. However, there is no Biblical foundation for this. It’s another man made tradition by the early Catholic church like praying to Mary. In its original form it had very strict fasting rules that proved to be unrealistic for the average person living in the real world.
I can’t imagine every year facing 40 days of only one meal a day and no meat, fish, eggs, or butter. Every year! I mean, I can see a person possibly doing such a thing when led of God to do so, but every year? Do you realize how quickly a year passes? So it was one of the World Wars, I forget which, but I guess they began watering it way down, until today it can be almost anything. Again, not that God does not honor any person who sincerely seeks him, but we already have a BEAUTIFUL event of the Lord’s Supper, Passover, Days of unleavened bread, and Communion that is definitely supported by the early church fathers, and our Bible, and is actually connected to our Lord’s crucifixion! We fail to live a true Passover for this thing called Lent? I just don’t get it?
Why have we embraced a very watered down Catholic man made tradition not supported by our Bible or early church fathers, connected to Constantine and a path that led to the Dark Ages, and completely short changed the most sacred and beautiful event of our Lord’s Supper and Passover?
Jesus fasting 40 days in the wilderness did not happen during his last days before the cross. There is no connection whatsoever, and yet someone creates this Lent, connects it to our Lord’s crucifixion, and causes confusion concerning what the early church actually did on that holy three day period. The Lord’s Supper and his Passover ought to be the most sacred event of our calendar year! Most Christians don’t even know that for the Jew, it was also a New Years event! So if I am now a child of Abraham, I’d rather claim that as my New Years rather than January 1st when the world celebrates, because I am not of this world!
How have we gotten to this watered down place in church history? Last night my wife and I enjoyed a beautiful Lord’s Supper Passover meal in our home. We had prayers, food, worship, fellowship, and began our New Year in a powerful way already giving God first place for another year. As we progressed through the 4 cups and the 3 Matzah breads, we were reminded of every aspect of what our Lord did for us in saving us from slavery to SIN. And now today, as I wait for the celebration of my Lord’s resurrection, I am still in the Days of unleavened bread, and it’s a beautiful thing.
We are no longer under LAW. I don’t have to do the Days of unleavened bread, but I like doing it. I don’t do the full 10 days. I do what I feel God leading me to. I have a few days after the Passover meal where I think about getting SIN out of my life, just like I have to intentionally avoid leaven in my foods if I am to practice this. It makes me think. It makes me think about what my Lord did for me, and how I want to love him more and serve him better. During this time I pray for more of God’s help, more of the Holy Spirit in me, setting me free from my selfish ways, worldly ways, sinful ways. Again, it’s a beautiful thing, and I could do it even if a world war was going on.
I really think the church needs to get back to more of what the early church showed us to do, not these traditions of man. I also believe God allowed the persecution to scatter the church and it was not until then that you see God’s full will for his church. The very first church that kept growing bigger and bigger in those first chapters of Acts was just God’s launching pad for what it was to become. And for almost 300 years it fought to remain that way, until pressure from Rome bishops, a carnal Constantine, and lots of government favor started us down a path to the Dark Ages. And then we Protestants finally came out! OR DID WE?
If you practice Lent in a sincere and real way, I can see benefit there, but have you ever truly studied the beauty of what God already has for us in the Passover? Do you know the Apostles taught the early church to continue these meals, the Lord’s Supper, the Passover, and fellowship meals? It now took on a Christian form, but you find it in early church writings, Polycarp the disciple of John, and the Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians chapter 11. There is much evidence of it. Even the Catholic church historians recognize it. It’s there. It’s beautiful. It’s real. It’s still for today. I invite you to see it for yourself. All you got to do is some digging for truth. It’s there. May God bless you in your journey.
This was our 3rd year of having Passover and every year gets better as we learn more. My Matzah turned out the best yet this year! Even my wife agreed. Next year we hope to add some bitter herbs and honor our Lord even more, every year. But do not forget as you’re going about your busy day, our Lord was in the belly of the earth, his body in a cold tomb, this day. Let us always remember this most sacred event, and take none of it for granted. Be blessed in our Lord forever, as we follow Him.