Lent at St. Luke’s
The forty days before Easter, not counting Sundays, make up the season of Lent. Lent this year will start on Wednesday, March 6. The word Lent means spring. Think of early spring with the working of the soil and getting everything ready to burst forth into full springtime. It is a time of preparation for the full flowering of spring on Easter Sunday.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. That is a time when we remember how much we need new life in Jesus. By ourselves, we are dust and to dust we shall return. In Christ, we have new life. At the beginning of the Ash Wednesday service we receive ashes on our foreheads to remind us of our mortality. As we go forward for Communion that night, we wipe off the ashes in the waters of the baptismal font to remind us of the new life we have in Jesus.
During the Sundays in Lent, we consider Bible passages dealing with Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem to die for us. He took all our sins upon Himself so we could be free of their power to destroy us. The overriding theme is that God keeps His promise to be our God and give us salvation even though it costs Him so dearly. We place a rugged cross made of old Christmas trees in the front of the church during Lent to remind us of Jesus’ awesome sacrifice on our behalf. The fabric hangings in the front of the church and my vestments are purple during Lent. Purple is the color of penitence and royalty. We are sorry for our sins and remember it took the sacrifice of the King of all creation to free us from their power to destroy us.
We have special times together on Wednesdays during Lent. We begin with a soup supper in Schultz Hall at 6:00 p.m. This is a special fellowship time for us to enjoy a simple supper together as God’s people. We then have a short service at 6:30 p.m., also in Schultz Hall. This year we have a series of dramas about several of the people who followed Jesus at the time of His passion.
The week before Easter Sunday is known as Holy Week. It begins with Palm Sunday, also known as the Sunday of the Passion. The service starts with a procession of palms to remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Everything seemed so wonderful, but it became increasingly obvious that Jesus did not come to set up a kingdom of this world. The service quickly changes mood, as Holy Week did so many years ago, for Jesus ends up being rejected and crucified.
Thursday of Holy Week is an especially significant day. Jesus gathered with His disciples to share His last supper. During the Passover meal held that night He identified Himself as the lamb to be sacrificed to save God’s people from their sins. He promised to be in with and under the bread and wine shared that night and any time the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion) is shared. We observe this day with a Passover Supper in Schultz Hall at 6:00 p.m. We remember through special foods and readings how God saved His people from slavery in Egypt. After a full lamb (or chicken) dinner, we have a Holy Communion service in the sanctuary at 7:30 p.m. We remember, as we receive the bread and wine of Communion, how Jesus saved us from slavery to sin. At the end of the service we strip the altar in remembrance of Jesus being arrested and taken into the hands of His captors. On Friday of Holy Week (Good Friday) we gather at 7:30 p.m. for a service of shadows. We remember through a series of Bible readings and hymns Jesus’ awesome sacrifice for us on the cross.
All this is to help our hearts and minds get prepared for a wonderful celebration of the new life Jesus won for us on Easter Sunday. May God bless your Lenten journey.
Spreading, Sharing, and Serving with You,