A great blessing of the Liturgical Renewal movement has been the recovery of Lent and Easter as times for baptismal preparation and renewal. Lent is not a sad time. Nor is it a prolonged reflection on Jesus’ Passion. That’s reserved for Holy Week. Lent is a time for personal and communal change and transformation. For adults in the WAY process, Lent is a time to prepare for baptism at the Easter Vigil. For other adults in the WAY and our 8th grade confirmation students, Lent leads to a renewal of baptism at Easter. For all of us, Lent is a time to prepare with joy for the Easter Feast. The 50 days of Easter then become a training ground for ministry in daily life. Look for various rites at worship during Lent. These are times to pray for and with the people who are preparing for baptism or renewal of baptism. Notice, too, the themes of the lectionary readings and the many opportunities before us to grow in faith and renounce those things that prevent a deeper engagement with the things of God.
This year we are provided with rich fare through Lent, compliments of the Gospel of Luke – Jesus fasting in the wilderness, Jesus’ lamenting over Jerusalem and longing for God’s people to return as a mother hen longs to gather chicks under her wings, Jesus’ parable of a fig tree calling us to return to God, the return home of the prodigal son to his forgiving father, and finally, Mary’s extravagant anointing of Jesus before his burial. These scriptures are calling us to return to God who is gracious and merciful and to make our true home in Christ.
The Lenten journey begins this year on March 6th. There are three opportunities to worship on Ash Wednesday: 11:15 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary and a family-oriented service at 6:30 p.m. in the Tree of Life room.