The Parish Church of Saint Matthew Big Lamp ~ Newcastle
The Church Season of Lent
Lent   is   a   season   of   the   Church   year,   which   runs   up   to   the celebration   of   Easter.      It   is   a   penitential   time,   which   means that   it   is   characterised   by   simplicity   and   self-restraint.      This is   why   many   Christians   "give   up   something   for   Lent."      At Saint   Matthew's,   the   Liturgy   aims   to   reflect   something   of   this penitential character. Centuries   ago,   in   some   churches,   Lent   was   the   period   of   final preparation   for   Baptism   and   initiation   into   the   membership of the Church. We   speak   of   its   being   forty   days   long,   but,   in   fact   it   is   longer than   that,   because   the   Sundays   are   not   counted   (Sundays   are celebrations   of   the   Resurrection   and   cannot,   therefore,   be penitential   in   the   same   way).      None-the-less,   the   Liturgy   on Sundays   in   Lent   reflects   the   character   of   the   season.      The first   day   of   Lent   is   called   Ash   Wednesday ,   because   of   the ceremony of ashes associated with the day. The     period     of     forty     days     is     associated     with     Christ's withdrawal into the wilderness: The   Spirit   immediately   drove   Jesus   out   into   the   wilderness.      And   he   was   in   the   wilderness forty   days,   tempted   by   Satan;   and   he   was   with   the   wild   beasts;   and   the   angels   ministered   to him. Mark 1: 12f (see also Matthew 4: 1 - 11; Luke 4:a 1 - 13) During    Lent,    Christians    try    to    take    on    additional    spiritual    activities    to    deepen    their    Faith    in anticipation   of   the   Easter   celebration.      It   is   at   this   time,   in   particular,   that   we   follow   the   Stations   of the   Cross   -   a   set   of   devotions,   which   follow   Christ's   journey   from   his   trial   to   His   burial.      Many churches   (like   Saint   Matthew's)   have   a   set   of   pictures   around   the   walls   to   accompany   this   devotion.     We also veil many of the decorations as a sign of simplicity. Let   culminates   in   Holy   Week ,   during   which   we   follow   the   events   leading   up   to   Christ’s   Passion   and Crucifixion before celebrating His Resurrection at Easter.