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A Longhorn Lenten Season

Our richly diverse campus has a student body that forms a medley of many diverse cultures, religions, political views and ethnicities. These dynamic differences contribute to the vibrancy of campus life. Last Wednesday you may have seen your classmates with crosses on their foreheads. Or perhaps the night before, you noticed festivities and people wearing beads (but you didn’t ask how they earned them…). Well for UT’s Christian community, the Lenten season has begun. In Western Christianity, Lent is a period of 40 days leading up to Easter (Easter celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus. Got Questions? Click here). The Catholic Church and some Protestant churches celebrate Lent as a time of preparation for Easter through prayer, fasting, and charity. Some people give up a vice or devote time to community service. Others fast as a spiritual discipline and consider Lent to be a time of “soul-searching and repentance”. Others view it as a season for reflection. A Christian also follows Jesus’ example of withdrawing into the wilderness by observing the Season of Lent. The number 40 is associated with many events throughout the Bible, but especially with Jesus’ solitary time spent in the desert for forty days preparing for his ministry. Ash Wednesday begins the Season of Lent, and Catholics attend mass for this occasion and receive a cross on their forehead as a sign of “sign of humility before God, a symbol of mourning and sorrow at the death that sin brings into the world”. Mardi Gras, a French Catholic tradition, precedes the somber Ash Wednesday with festivities, parades, dancing, costumes, music, and of course, beads. Mardi Gras is French for ‘Fat Tuesday,’ and a fat Tuesday it is: people traditionally feast on sinfully delicious and fatty foods (aka Tiff Treats) before the ritual fasting of Lent. Some cultures—especially “the Portuguese culture of Brazil and some of the Caribbean cultures”—partake in excessively wild and drunken revelries. We have our own infamous American version: the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans. UT’s version is surely just as exciting.

Who is Jesus?

Click here to read an article written by Pastor John Piper about who Jesus Christ was.


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