This month marks the beginning of the Lenten season in the life of the church. The season of Lent is a time when we focus on preparing our hearts for Easter. This is a time for inward reflection and contemplation. This is a time to be honest with ourselves about our own sinfulness. And this is a time to ponder just who we really are, and who God is calling us to be.
Here at church we will offer you several chances to embrace this season and to deepen your spiritual practices. The official start of Lent is Ash Wednesday which falls on March 6th this year. We will have a special worship service at 5:30 that night to mark the start of the season. At this quiet service we will sing, confess our sins together, and receive the mark of the ashen cross on our foreheads. This mark reminds us of our own frailty before the Lord as we remember that we are dust, and that each of us at some time will return to a state of dust in our death. If you’ve never experienced an Ash Wednesday service before I strongly encourage you to attend.
Our first Sunday of Lent will be March 10th. We will look at the traditional first Sunday scripture reading of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. Throughout the month our Sunday scriptures will focus on Jesus’ teachings which call us to repent. This is a time to consider what mistakes we have made in the past, where we have given in to temptations, and what we can do to repent and reform our lives.
Also on the 10th we will be handing out Lenten devotionals for your personal use. This is a great addition to this reflective season as you have the opportunity to pray and study in your own home as you seek to deepen your faith this season.
Another opportunity to deepen your spiritual practices this Lenten season is through Taize worship. Taize is a style of worship that developed in the Taize community in France. It features meditational singing as well as extended times of silence. In our busy and loud world, this time of silent reflection can be truly transformative. We will have Taize worship at 7pm in the sanctuary on the evenings of March 19th and 26th.
Lent is a special time in the life of the church when we refocus ourselves on our faith and call ourselves to deeper spiritual practices. I hope that you can take advantage of some of these special offerings this month so that you can experience the power of this holy season. I’ll see you in church!