CCC'S LENT EXPERIENCE FAQ

1. What is Lent?
2. Who can participate?
3. Do you have to register in order to participate?
4. When Does Lent Begin?
5. What if I missed the first day of Lent?
6. What is Ash Wednesday?
7. Why do some Christians put ashes on the forehead?
8. How are the ashes made?
9. Will Christian Cultural Center be hosting an Ash Wednesday service?
10. What is Shrove (Preparation) Tuesday?
11. How did the Holy Day become synonymous with gluttony?
12. How can I (& my family) keep a Holy Lent?
13. When does the fasting begin?
14. What is fasting?
15. How should I fast?
16. How should you fast?
17. Will there be corporate reading and prayer?
18. Where can I find a copy of the daily scriptures and prayers?
19. What is Holy Week (Sunday, April 9th through Saturday, April 15th)?
20. What is Easter?
21. What are the origins of Lent?
22. Do I have to observe Lent?
23. Should we observe Lent?
24. Why does it seem like Lent is more than 40 days?
25. Is Lent Biblical?

1. What is Lent?
Lent is a Christian tradition amongst both Protestants and Catholics. It is a 40-day personal time of prayer, fasting and giving to experience a deepening of our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and discern where God is working in our lives. It begins on Ash Wednesday and over the course of 40 days leading up to Resurrection Sunday.

However, it is never too late to join us - register today!

2. Who can participate?
The time of observance is open to all ages.

3. Do you have to register in order to participate?
Yes, we ask that everyone please follow the link below and register. Registering will enable you to receive the daily scripture and prayer to your inbox and keep up to date with all of the Lent experiences.
REGISTER NOW

4. When Does Lent Begin?
Lent begins on Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 (Ash Wednesday) and ends on Sunday, April 16th, 2017 (Easter Sunday).

*Lent is an old English word meaning 'lengthen'. The season Lent is observed in spring, when the days begin to get longer. The Passover event in the book of Exodus, and the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, all occurred during the beginning of spring.

The last week of Lent is called Holy Week.

5. What if I missed the first day of Lent?
We live with very hectic life schedules. Join us as soon as you can or when you can!

6. What is Ash Wednesday?
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Season of Lent. Most Christians observe this day and Good Friday as two of the most important days for fasting. Many churches hold special services to mark the beginning of the Lent on this day.

Ash Wednesday is based on the Biblical example of covering one's head with ashes, wearing sackcloth and fasting as an outward expression of:
  • Mourning for our personal sins and the sins of the world around us.
  • Turning away from comfort and leisure to seek God.
  • Mortality and the need for grace. After all, God made humans from the dust of the world and when we die we return to dust and ashes. And ashes are often placed on the forehead in the sign of the cross as a reminder of Christ's atoning sacrifice for our sins.
  • Consider some of these verses as examples: (See Joel 2:12 NLT, James 4:8-9 NLT, Jonah 3:5-8 NLT, Isaiah 22:12 NLT, 1 Kings 8:47-49 NLT.
7. Why do some Christians put ashes on the forehead?
This act of putting ashes on the forehead symbolizes mortality as well as the need for ongoing repentance (See Proverbs 28:13 NLT, Acts 2:38 NLT, Acts 3:19 NLT, Acts 17:30 NLT, Isaiah 55:6-7 NLT). It is a reminder that our life on earth is short and merely a foreshadowing of what we shall become through the redemption of Jesus Christ on the cross. The redemption process is complete when we are raised from the dead in our resurrected bodies and join in the eternal communion with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

8. How are the ashes made?
The ashes used during Ash Wednesday normally are made from blessed palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday. The ashes are sprinkled with Holy Water and incensed before distribution.

9. Will Christian Cultural Center be hosting an Ash Wednesday service?
We will not host a special Ash Wednesay service this year in 2017, but you are invited to attend our Tuesday Night Evening Service on February 28th, at 7PM at the CCC Brooklyn Campus.

10. What is Shrove (Preparation) Tuesday?
Shrove Tuesday (might also be called Preparation Tuesday) is the day before Ash Wednesday. Originally it was a day of repentance in order to prepare the soul for the season of Lent. Shrove comes from the ritual of shriving or confessing sins and receiving forgiveness.
Over time this Holy Day would become synonymous with everything from Pancake Day to Mardi Gras.
How did the Holy Day become synonymous with gluttony?
When the Lent Season began over a thousand years ago Christians did not have refrigerators, storage spaces, or grocery stores like Wal-Mart.
They couldn't hope that the meat, fats, eggs, etc. would not spoil. But Christians did not want to waste food either. So in addition to the church services, Christians came together for a feast to ensure that that none of the food would be wasted!
So Mardi Gras which means "Fat Tuesday" refers to the need to make sure none of the fat was wasted.
And later Pancake Day became associated with Preparation/Shrove Tuesday because they were a dish that could use up all the eggs, fats and milk in the home.

11. How did the Holy Day become synonymous with gluttony?
When the Lent Season began over a thousand years ago Christians did not have refrigerators, storage spaces, or grocery stores like Wal-Mart or storage spaces. They couldn't just hope that the meat, fats, eggs, etc. would not spoil, since these were restricted foods during Lent. In addition to the church services, Christians came together for a feast. Mardi Gras which means "Fat Tuesday" refers to the need to make sure none of the fats were wasted. This was accomplished by what is known as Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday where all the eggs, fats and milk in the home was used in a pancake and consumed on Shrove (Preparation) Tuesday. This was a way to rid the home of these restricted foods before Lent began.

12. How can I (& my family) keep a Holy Lent?
  • Be Honest. This is a time for self-examination with a focus on grace. Through prayer and in the company of encouraging believers, take the time to be honest with yourself. However, don't let self-examination lead you into condemnation! Remember the promises of Scripture that you belong to Christ and nothing can separate you from his great love! (See 1 John 4:19 NLT) (John 10:28-30 NLT) (Ephesians 3: 18-19 NLT) (Ephesians 1:4 NLT)
  • Be Compassionate. When is the last time you served someone and didn't expect anything in return? Service is a spiritual discipline and Lent is a great time to activate your ambassadorship! Join us on some local missionary experiences to serve others and watch enrich your own experience of grace!
  • Spread Love. Make this a season to reach out to your family, friends and neigbors in special and creative ways.
  • Fast to Feast: The central spiritual practice of Lent is fasting from food. We do this in order to feast on God's presence, power and provision. Fasting helps us to remember the gift of love, liberty and eternal life given to us through Christ our Lord.
13. When does the fasting begin?
Fasting begins with Ash Wednesday.

14. What is fasting?
Fasting like all spiritual disciplines is a means to an end. All spiritual disciplines are meant to be habits that lift the soul, making space for God to speak to our hearts.

Fasting is simply denying ourselves food to eat for a period of time. Although it is popular for someone to say, "I'm going to fast from social media" that is not a fast. Fasting is always connected to self-denial as it relates to food. I can enter into a season of withdrawing from social media or television as a practice of self-denial but that is not truly fasting.

Fasting is not only about self-denial connected to food. Fasting is about feasting on God's presence, promises and power. In other words, "we fast in order to feast!" Fasting during Lent is not just about giving up food but giving up the sins that break God's heart, ruin our potential and hurt others.

Fasting is a spiritual discipline that recalibrates the compass of our heart. It is an opportunity to make sure our spiritual GPS is full of the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures!

To read more about fasting and to make sure you are fully prepared check out these free online resources.

15. How should I fast?
Over the past several years, the CCC community has observed the Holy Week starting with Palm Sunday through Good Friday to commit to fasting. This meant that for those who were able and cleared by a physician to eat only meal per day and drinking water only concluding with communion on Good Friday.

This year we are inviting the community to observe 40 days of Fasting within the Lent season.

Monday through Saturday are the days for fasting. Sunday is never a day of fasting but celebrating the risen Lord Jesus Christ!

16. How should you fast?
  • Make sure you are cleared with a physician especially if you are on medication. Remember, God looks at your heart. You can fast within the limitations that you currently live with by faith knowing that God is looking at your heart and understands your condition.
  • There are lost of Scriptures on Fasting. But read and meditate before you fast on Matthew chapter 6 and Isaiah chapter 58.
  • Remember that Sundays is not a fast day BUT it is not a day for self-indulgent gluttony either or making up for what you didn't do during the week
  • Fasting, check with your physician
  • Fasting websites, guides here
  • Remember the point of any fast but especially during lent is not to give up food but to give sins that break God's heart and ruin our potential
The following examples are options for you to consider:
  • Fast from all red meat, poultry, including eggs
  • Fast from all sweets, including bread products
  • Each fast day, limit yourself to only two small meals for yourself and one standard meal
  • Fast eating only one meal a day and water
Fast to Give
  • Use the money you would normally spend eating out toward a church or charity
  • Join us at our community service events around the city. Even if you don't join us consider how you can make active service part of your lifestyle for the month.
Fast to Feast
  • Worship, prayer, bible study, learning together with others
  • Limit social media interaction or even television in order to pray, worship
  • Reconnect with family and friends
17. Will there be corporate reading and prayer?
There will be corporate reading and prayer and we ask that you commit to a specific time each day that fits your schedule comfortably. Please choose a time of day where you can read the daily scriptures and pray without interruption. 18. Where can I find a copy of the daily scriptures and prayers?
Scriptures for the entire duration Lent will be sent via email daily and will be posted on the CCC Website, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram page.

19. What is Holy Week (Sunday, April 9th through Saturday, April 15th)?
The week leading up to Resurrection Sunday is called Holy Week. Beginning with Palm Sunday, we remember the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, his death and burial.

Palm Sunday

This is the Sunday before Resurrection Sunday. Palm Sunday marks the first day of Holy Week and we remember Jesus' triumphant entrance into Jerusalem during the Passover week. Palm branches are used as a symbolic reminder of the crowds that greeted Jesus and of the victory we have because of his grace. (Matthew 21:1-11 NLT)

Maundy Thursday

This is the Thursday before Resurrection Sunday. The word "Maundy" is derived from the Latin word for "command (mandate)." On this night our Lord commanded that his disciples would love one another as he washed their feet (John 13:1-17 NLT). We remember the last Passover meal our Lord shared with his disciples where he instituted the Holy Communion (also called the Eucharist or the Lord's supper).

Good Friday

Good Friday is the Friday before Resurrection Sunday. Christians remember the final hours of Christ, his suffering and his death on the cross. This is a day of worship and reflection on the meaning and significance of Christ's suffering and death. Many churches begin with a Sunrise Service and conclude with evening services including a meditation on the seven last sayings of Christ on the cross.

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday is the day before Resurrection Sunday. It is known by a number of other names including the Great Sabbath, Easter Eve or Saturday of Light.

  • Holy Saturday remembers the burial of Christ's body in the tomb
  • Christians remember that Jesus declared "it is finished" and that God rested on the Sabbath Day from all his work in Genesis
  • Christians wait together to celebrate Resurrection Sunday, the day of new creation and new beginnings. As God declared in Genesis on the first day of the week, "Let their be light", so too God raised Jesus, the light of the world, from the dead and started a brand new order that will culminate in his second coming
  • Christians remember that we are waiting for the ultimate new day when Christ returns again
20. What is Easter?
Easter is known to us at Christian Cultural Center as Resurrection Sunday. The Easter season, starting with Lent, is really the Christian Passover. Resurrection Sunday (Easter) is a celebration of the great saving event of the death and resurrection of Jesus for the salvation of the world. This is the most important Holy Day of the Christian year.

The origin of the word Easter is often debated (hence our preference for Resurrection Sunday). The word Easter is often associated with the Teutonic goddess of spring. In all likelihood Easter is a plural form of the month of April in the old Germanic language.

However, Christians originally celebrated Resurrection Sunday under the name Pascha. Pascha is the Greek transliteration of the Aramaic word, Pascha, and the Hebrew, Pesach, both meaning Passover! Why? Because Christ Jesus is our Passover Lamb dying for our sins and delivering us from spiritual darkness!

21. What are the origins of Lent?
Lent originated as a time to prepare for Resurrection Sunday. From the earliest days, Christians not only celebrated the resurrection every Sunday (the first day of the Jewish week, and the day of Christ's resurrection), but also a special celebration on the Sunday after Passover.

Even though Christians are admonished to always examine their lives, it is wise as a community of believers to take a corporate spiritual exam. Lent is a time for us to make course corrections and recalibrate our heart towards the centrality and supremacy of Christ Jesus.

22. Do I have to observe Lent?
No one should feel compelled to observe Lent. We invite you to join us if you are able into this time of prayer, fasting and giving. We don't have to earn God's love but we are called to surrender to his leading daily. Lent is one of the ways that we, as a community, to "Work hard to show the results of" our salvation, "obeying God with deep reverence and fear" (Philippians 2:12 NLT). We believe that through Lent, God is working in us, giving us the desire and the power to do what pleases him (Philippians 2:13 NLT).

23. Should we observe Lent?
Yes! Why?
First, practicing the spiritual disciplines as a community is wise. An athlete stays in shape all year round but there is a time for special training. Lent is special training.
Second, Lent unites us with our Christian history and other Christians of different faith expressions.
Third, Lent is a season of time and life management based on the revelation of God in Christ according to the Scriptures.

24. Why does it seem like Lent is more than 40 days?
Lent is actually more than 40 days but Sunday's are never included as a day of fasting.
Why?
Sunday's are never a day to fast but a day of worship, celebration and fellowship with other Christians. Sunday is the Lord's Day - the day of resurrection - all through the year! So during Lent, the Lord's Day is listed as a "Sunday in Lent" not a "Sunday of Lent." The other days are for fasting - Sunday is for celebration!

25. Is Lent Biblical?
Although Lent is not explicitly mandated in the Scriptures it is a biblically inspired Holy Season.

How so?

First, Lent recalls the events leading up to and including Jesus' death on the cross.

Next, let's consider the application of the number 40. 40 is a symbolic number in the scriptures.
  • The flood sent by God was brought about by 40 days and nights of rain
  • Israel spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness before reaching the promised land of Canaan
  • Moses fasted for 40 days before receiving the Ten Commandments
  • Jesus was tested for 40 days in the wilderness before beginning his ministry
Finally, it is always biblical to examine ourselves and celebrate the glory of God. We don't need special holidays to do this but God provided holidays to the nation of Israel to remember their calling. Christians choose to imitate this biblical pattern of Holy Days onto the Lord.

Recommended readings for Lent:
Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
Experiencing God Through Prayer by Jeanne Guyon
Meditations of the Heart by Howard Thurman
Disciplines of the Spirit by Howard Thurman
Unapologetic Christianity by Jamaal Bernard
Take Words With You by Tim Kerr
The Steps to Freedom in Christ by Neil T. Anderson
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
Moments & Days by Michelle Van Loon