What Does Lent Mean to You?

[A previous post didn’t get the attention I’d hoped for, so I’m republishing it. – Funky]

"The Teutonic word Lent, which we employ to denote the forty days’ fast preceding Easter, originally meant no more than the spring season. Still it has been used from the Anglo-Saxon period to translate the more significant Latin term quadragesima (French carême, Italian quaresima, Spanish cuaresma), meaning the ‘forty days’, or more literally the ‘fortieth day’. This in turn imitated the Greek name for Lent, tessarakoste (fortieth), a word formed on the analogy of Pentecost (pentekoste), which last was in use for the Jewish festival before New Testament times. This etymology, as we shall see, is of some little importance in explaining the early developments of the Easter fast." – Catholic Encyclopedia

Lent starts early this year. Ash Wednesday is February 9. That’s less than a week away. Are you planning on performing any acts of penance? Being a Catholic convert from fairly high-church Lutheranism, I don’t know much about "low-church" Protestant observances of Lent or lack thereof. I’d like very much to know how non-Catholics, particularly Evangelicals and liberals/progressives, observe Lent.

If you are a Protestant (of any flavor), I have a mission for you, should you choose to accept it (queue Mission Impossible music). I’d like to know how you, your church, and/or your denomination observe (or don’t observe) Ash Wednesday and Lent. If you don’t have a blog, please consider leaving a comment to tell me what Lent means to you. If you do have a blog, please consider writing a post about what Lent means to you. Trackback this post and I’ll write a carnival-like post to tie the entries together. Also, please promote this meme on your blog. Thanks in advance. 🙂