At the heart of the Christian faith is the conviction that Jesus Christ, fully God yet fully man, died upon the cross and was raised from the dead. Jesus’ disciples were eyewitnesses to these events. These same disciples were those who first told the great news of Jesus, recorded it in the gospels, established the first Christian churches, and set forth new and distinct patterns of Christian life and worship.
As Christianity became more and more structured in the early centuries of the church, a liturgical calendar was developed. The liturgical calendar set patterns for both the life and the worship of the church. In each season, particular worship practices became customary as the church celebrated by intentionally focusing on specific events within the gospel story. The season of Lent was one of the liturgical seasons that rose to particular importance early in the church. The New Handbook of the Christian Year records, “Lent is a time for evangelism and for true conversion—a time for growing through repentance, fellowship, prayer, fasting, and concentration upon our baptismal covenant.”