The Purpose of Lent
Pastor's Monthly Newsletter Article for February, 2015 Lent is a 40-day season preparing us for the commemoration of Holy Week and Easter. It begins with Ash Wednesday (February 8th this year), and concludes at Passion / Palm Sunday (March 29th this year). Lent is a time of fasting, prayer and repentance – all intended to help us become more aware of our sinfulness, and more appreciative of God’s forgiveness and grace.
The practice of observing Lent seems to have taken root in the church during the early 4th Century. Its purpose was twofold: to make up for the “waning zeal” that leaders were noticing in the church, and to provide a longer period of instruction for the increasing numbers of converts to the faith.
True to these beginnings, today’s church continues to see in Lent a rich opportunity to increase our understanding of and our enthusiasm for the faith we have in Christ.
With this in mind, we will be making some modifications to our Sunday morning schedule for the Sundays in Lent (February 22nd through March 22nd) this year. All worshippers will be invited to form small groups and gather around tables in the Narthex and the Fellowship Hall immediately following the first service (at about 9:30 a.m.), and in the middle of the second service (at the time of the sermon) for a time of learning about our God, our faith and our life together. We hope to see tables occupied by families, friends, new acquaintances, intergenerational groups… all ready to learn together as they walk through a guided conversation based on the Faith5 principles used by our Youth & Families Ministries (Share, Read, Talk, Pray, Bless). At the same time, during the second service, those who choose to will also have the opportunity to participate in a Bible study led by me in the Worship Center.
Our conversation will focus on five words and five Bible passages:
Feb. 22nd: Prepare / St. Mark 1:9-15 March 1st: Promise / Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 March 8th: Power 1st Corinthians 1:18-25 March 15th: Proclaim / St. John 3:14-21 March 22nd: Purpose / Jeremiah 31:31-34
I am excited about this opportunity. I hope that it will help our families discover new ways to talk together about their faith. I hope it will encourage us to be more interested in intentional small group gatherings, where we can support, encourage, challenge and grow with one another. I hope it will lead us into some deeper conversation about what our faith means to us, and how it makes a difference in our lives. This, after all, is the purpose of Lent – and the purpose of our time together on Sunday mornings.
I hope you will join us this year as we explore, together, the purpose of Lent. Join us for worship on Wednesday evenings (7:00 p.m.) and Sunday mornings (8:30 and 10:00 a.m.), and grow with us as we walk together with Christ this 40-day journey though Lent, to the cross of Good Friday and the empty tomb of Easter Sunday. May the grace of God that we know in the resurrection of Christ fill your heart with peace and joy, now and always.
A Good Lent to You All, Pastor Dave