Significance Of Lent
There always comes a time in the life of a Christian when he sets himself apart for self-examination, soul searching, and sober reflection towards attaining spiritual growth.
One of such times is the Lenten period; a time set aside by the ecumenical church in preparation for Easter, which is the remembrance of the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Lent begins with observance of Ash Wednesday when Christians have ashes like the sign of a cross applied to their foreheads as a mark of humility, submission and brokenness before god.
By so doing, it is believed that the faithful is identifying with Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death to deliver humanity from sin and eternal condemnation.
The Lenten season is therefore characterized by forty days of fasting and prayer, a practice adopted from Jesus Christ when he fasted for forty days and nights in the wilderness, in preparation for his earthly ministry.
Though, not all Christian denominations observe lent, it is mostly recognized by the Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Anglicans.
During this season, Christians abstain from food, drinks and all manners of worldly pleasure as a form of spiritual discipline.
They also use the occasion to study the Bible and pray more.
The goal is to strengthen their faith, have a renewed life, and develop a closer relationship with God.
it is equally a period when faithful shares their God-given resources with the needy.
However, more importantly, is the fact that these sacrifices should remind Christians of the greatest sacrifice made by Jesus Christ for the redemption of mankind.
At such a time as this, the Lenten season ought to be seen as a period when Christians take time to pray for the country and its leaders.
No doubt, the situation and challenges all around call for sober reflection and genuine repentance by all, in light of God’s word in 2 Chronicles chapter 7, verse 14 which says, “if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”.
Therefore, the church, as change agent should not just observe this lent as a mere ritual but one capable of ushering in national rebirth through fervent prayers and attitudinal change by all.
Every Nigerian should appropriately apply the lessons of lent to their daily lives to bring positive changes to the society and nation at large.
If well observed, lent as a solemn period of prayers, fasting, and abstinence is capable of attracting God’s mercy upon Nigeria and drive away all forces of disunity, disintegration, insecurity, socio-political and economic instability.