The liturgical season of Lent is not known for any celebratory feasts or heartfelt gift-giving, or even cheerful greetings. Rather, we solemnly recall Jesus’ forty days of testing in the wilderness. The shadow of sin and repentance and death hovers over the season, and we must make our way through before we arrive at the joy of Easter.
And yet Lent can be a meaningful and powerful season in the life of each one of us. In Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, we can identify with his humanity. His body was weak after fasting for forty days, and there were no friends or family around him. And in this vulnerable state, he was further tested — challenged to go the easy way; tempted to test God’s presence, proof of God’s power; offered all the world if only he would worship the devil. In the facing – and resisting — of these temptations, Jesus’ identity and mission were confirmed, and he was prepared to begin his ministry.
Before we run with joy toward the victory of Easter, we have the opportunity for spiritual reflection and growth. We have these forty days to look honestly at ourselves, evaluating, taking stock, seeing clearly where we are in relation to God. We are invited to ask hard questions of ourselves:
What is the state of our soul?
Where are we looking for our emotional and spiritual nourishment? For our comfort?
How does the use of our resources – time, money, thought, energy, expertise — identify where our strongest loyalty lies?
Sometimes we choose to deny ourselves during Lent by giving up a certain food or activity.
Some adopt the practice of “taking up” something for Lent: a special time of prayer, Bible reading, volunteering, meditation, special giving. In any case, the purpose of our Lenten practices is to remove those things that block us – activities, allegiances, attitudes – and put ourselves in a place where our relationship with God can be re-formed and strengthened.
You are invited to observe Lent and Holy Week before celebrating Christ’s resurrection at Easter Sunrise Service at 7:00 am and Easter Sunday Service at 10:00 am:
Third Sunday in Lent March 4, 9:00 am and 10:45 am
Fourth Sunday in Lent March 11, 9:00 am and 10:45 am
Fifth Sunday in Lent March 18, 9:00 am and 10:45 am
Palm Sunday Service March 25, 10:00 am
Maundy Thursday Service March 29, 6:30 pm
Easter Sunrise Service April 1, 7:00 am
Easter Sunday Service April 1, 10:00 am