Lent is a church season where Christians identify with Jesus’ suffering and humiliation. This is often done through fasting, almsgiving, service, and other practices of spiritual renewal. These practices last for 40 days, which corresponds to the gospel accounts of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert (Matt. 4:2). At one time Lent was viewed as a period meant for converts preparing for baptism on Easter Sunday, but later the season has become a general time of penitence and reflection for all Christians.
The forty-day preparation period for Good Friday and Easter begins on Ash Wednesday and continues through the Thursday before Easter, not counting Sundays which are reserved for celebratory worship.
We use the color purple in the sanctuary during Lent. The color symbolizes both the pain and suffering leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus but it is also the color of royalty, and so anticipates through the suffering and death of Jesus the coming resurrection and hope of newness that will be celebrated in the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.