Lent is popularly known as a season for individual self-examination, penitence, and “giving something up” as a spiritual discipline. It seems to be primarily inwardly and negatively focused. It’s commonly seen as being about what’s wrong with me as an individual and what I’m willing to do to improve myself. While self-examination and some individual work are part of the work of Lent, the early church developed Lent to be primarily “other-focused.” Lent was created as the final leg of intense preparation and support for people who had chosen to learn to live the way of Jesus. It was, we might say, a kind of finishing school for those preparing for baptism and lifelong Christian discipleship.
March 1 Ash Wednesday: Remember, You Are Dust
We gather to acknowledge our mortality and our sinfulness, and to seek God’s mercy and guidance for the season of intensive formation and re-formation in the way of Jesus that lies ahead.
March 5 Lent 1: Renounce
We walk the way of temptation with Jesus and learn from him what it means to continue to renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of our sin.
March 12 Lent 2: Accept
Through powerful image of new birth and the biblical story of
the serpent in the wilderness, Jesus shows Nicodemus and us
what it takes for us to accept the freedom and power God gives us
to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.
March 19 Lent 3: Confess
In an encounter with a woman at a well in Samaria, Jesus confesses
he is the Messiah, and she not only embraces this, but leads others to make the same confession.
March 26 Lent 4: Nurture
The response of the crowds to Jesus’ healing of a man born blind says much about how our congregation can actively “nurture one another in the Christian faith and life, and include these persons now before you in your care,” or fail to do so.
April 2 Lent 5: Believe!
The faith we confess, and the faith that transforms us, is more than
intellectual assent to a theological construct. It is to stake our lives on the Triune God, and so join Martha’s confession, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into this world.”