Observing Lent

Q. I was reading through the article you wrote regarding the Seven Churches of Rev. 2 and 3 (part 2, specifically). When speaking about the death of Tammuz and his mother’s 40 day mourning period, in parenthesis you stated that today it is referred to as Lent. Forgive me if I misunderstood your point, but since you went on to list other pagan influences I assumed that our modern day observance of Lent is also influenced by pagan rituals/beliefs. Since we are currently observing Lent, it bothers me to think that I am ignorantly participating in a pagan-based observance, rather than a Biblical one. Am I correct in inferring that Lent is indeed pagan-based, and that I should not be participating in it?

A. I believe the 40 day period called Lent had its origin in Babylon and came into the Catholic church with other pagan traditions at the time the Church and the pagan Roman religion were merged, in the 4th Century. That’s why you won’t find Lent mentioned anywhere in the Bible.

As to whether or not you should observe it, that’s a matter for your own conscience (Romans 14:5). If you use the 40 day period to reflect on what Jesus did for you on the cross and express your gratitude for His completed work, I think that’s appropriate. But any attempt to make yourself more worthy of your salvation by temporarily denying yourself certain things is just religious work and is of no value.

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