Lent begins this year on Wednesday, March 1. Originating in the fourth century of the church, Lent spans 40 weekdays (symbolic of Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness) beginning on Ash Wednesday and climaxing during Holy Week with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and concluding Saturday before Easter. Originally, Lent was the time of preparation for those who were to be baptized, but since these new members were to be received into a living community of Faith, the entire community was called to preparation. The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigor during Lent are prayer (justice toward God), fasting (justice toward self), and almsgiving (justice toward neighbor). These days some people give up a vice and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations. Others add something that will bring them closer to God. It is a preparation to celebrate God’s marvelous redemption at Easter, and the resurrected life that we live, and hope for, as Christians.
Our theme for this year’s Lenten season is “Blessing…Even in the Wilderness” and surrounds the notion of “blessing,” but not in the way we typically think of it. During each of the Sundays in Lent, we will look at the notion of blessing in some way as well as the varieties of “wildernesses” that life also often brings and how the two often are experienced together.
Wednesday, March 1—Ash Wednesday 6:00 p.m.—Service for Children and Families 6:30 p.m.—All Ages Service Both services will include the imposition of ashes
Sunday, March 5—Lent I “Wilderness and Blessing” Matthew 4:1-11 Mary Elizabeth Hanchey preaching
Sunday, March 12—Lent II “The Wilderness of Struggle, the Blessing of Endurance” Genesis 32.22-32 Dorisanne Cooper preaching Children’s Choir singing
Sunday, March 19—Lent III “The Wilderness of Chaos, the Blessing of Rhythm” Genesis 1.1-2.4 Dorisanne Cooper preaching
Sunday, March 26—Lent IV Youth Sunday Youth Choir singing
Sunday, April 2—Lent V “The Wilderness of Death, the Blessing of New Life” John 11.1-44 Dorisanne Cooper preaching