What is Lent?
Lent is a forty-day season of repentance and self-examination that culminates in Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Just as we carefully prepare for big events in our personal lives—such as a wedding, graduation, or move to a new city—Lent invites us to draw near to God and prepare our hearts for remembering Jesus’ passion and celebrating his resurrection.
So Lent is a journey. It is a journey with Jesus into his life and into the life he has to offer to us. Perhaps Lent sounds strange or is new to you. Maybe you thought it was only for Catholics. We encourage you to give it a try this year. Experiment with this ancient pathway for drawing near to God.
The practice of a forty-day season began during the third and fourth centuries. The number forty is based on the forty years Israel spent in the wilderness and Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness before he began his public ministry.
This year (2021), the forty days of Lent begin on Ash Wednesday (February 17) and continue through Holy Week (until April 3). Sundays are not “counted” as part of the forty days; they are considered days of “feasting” and rest. Lent culminates in the beginning of a new season on Easter morning (April 4).
Lent in the Ordinary
This year, our Lent sermon series will focus on engaging Lent in the ordinary moments and objects of our lives. God often works through the ordinary, and if we have eyes to see, we can experience his grace there.
Each week, will will examine an ordinary object in our lives–and one that Jesus would have encountered on his journey to Jerusalem. We invite you to engage Lent this year in a few ways:
- Join us for worship when we reflect on Lent in the Ordinary together (schedule below)
- Read and reflect on a passage of Scripture each morning during Lent (passages provide below)
- Give up an object or activity as a way to unburden and focus yourself for the journey of Lent
Worship Service Schedule
February 17: Ash Wednesday service at 7pm
(Click here, then click Zoom or Youtube to watch Ash Wednesday service online)
February 21: First Sunday of Lent services at 8:30 and 10am
February 28: Second Sunday of Lent services at 8:30 and 10am
March 7: Third Sunday of Lent services at 8:30 and 10am
March 14: Fourth Sunday of Lent services at 8:30 and 10am
March 21: Fifth Sunday of Lent services at 8:30 and 10am
March 28: Palm Sunday services at 8:30 and 10am
April 2: Good Friday service at 7:30pm
April 4: Easter services at 8:30 and 10am
Historically, Christians have ‘given something up’ during Lent as a way to focus on their relationship with God. This is the part of Lent most people do not like. It’s not very fun. And it can come across like we’re trying to impress God with our sacrifice.
What if giving up is more about letting go? What if God does not want to add a new burden, but actually remove one? Lent is about giving up or letting go of something that has become a burden or distraction in your life, or perhaps something that has begun to exert too much influence over your life. When you give something up for forty days—even a really simple object like dessert—it has a way of focusing your heart on something important that you may have been neglecting.
Here are a few suggestions of objects you might give up:
- Certain foods such as meat, sugar/sweets/desserts, processed foods, a specific meal each day (like lunch), or going out to eat
- Certain beverages such as coffee/caffeine, alcohol, soda, or anything other than water
- Technology that often intrudes into our lives, like social media, certain apps, or surfing the internet
- Forms of media/entertainment, such as television, movies, Netflix, music, blogs, podcasts, or the news
- Shopping or purchasing anything that is not necessary
- Any leisure activities that have become all-consuming
There are many options. The idea is not to kill yourself. But letting go of something for forty days may not be comfortable either. Ideally, it would be something that you miss regularly, something that unnecessarily fills up too much time, creates too much stress, or distracts you from more important endeavors. If you’re still not sure about this practice, give it a try and see what you learn. The goal is not perfection or success. Our intention is to make space in our hearts and lives to look inward and experience God in a new way during this season.
Reading Guide Through Lent
Take a few minutes each morning to read through the passage listed below. Spend some time reflecting on it. You might ask yourself: What is God teaching me in this passage? Where do I see myself in these words or this story? How does this speak to my journey of faith during Lent. You might close your time by praying that God would keep your eyes open to him today.
Feb 17 // Ash Wednesday: Genesis 2:4b-7; Psalm 119:25-32
Feb 18 // Thursday: Job 30:16-23
Feb 19 // Friday: 1 Samuel 2:1-10
Feb 20 // Saturday: Luke 9:1-6
Feb 21 // First Sunday of Lent: Matthew 6:7-15
Feb 22 // Monday: Exodus 16:4-12
Feb 23 // Tuesday: Mark 7:24-30
Feb 24 // Wednesday: Ecclesiasts 11:1-6
Feb 25 // Thursday: John 6:1-14
Feb 26 // Friday: John 6:35-40
Feb 27 // Saturday: 1 Corinthians 11:17-26
Feb 28 // Second Sunday of Lent: Mark 8:31-38
Mar 1 // Monday: Hebrews 12:1-3
Mar 2 // Tuesday: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Mar 3 // Wednesday: Philippians 2:1-11
Mar 4 // Thursday: Colossians 1:15-20
Mar 5 // Friday: Mark 15:16-24
Mar 6 // Saturday: Mark 15:25-32
Mar 7 // Third Sunday of Lent: Mark 12:13-17
Mar 8 // Monday: Luke 15:8-10
Mar 9 // Tuesday: Luke 21:1-4
Mar 10 // Wednesday: John 2:13-22
Mar 11 // Thursday: Maatthew 10:26-31
Mar 12 // Friday: Ezra 2:64-69
Mar 13 // Saturday: Matthew 26:14-16
These passages are taken from Lent in Plain Sight by Jill Duffield. Her book contains a short devotional for each passage, questions for reflection, and a prayer for each day. Consider buying the book if you would like to spend more time each morning in reflection.
Mar 14 // Fourth Sunday of Lent: Exodus 3:1-6
Mar 15 // Monday: Mark 6:6b-13
Mar 16 // Tuesday: Luke 15:11-24
Mar 17 // Wednesday: John 1:19-28
Mar 18 // Thursday: Acts 12:6-11
Mar 19 // Friday: Exodus 12:11
Mar 20 // Saturday: Ephesians 6:10-17
Mar 21 // Fifth Sunday of Lent: Psalm 23
Mar 22 // Monday: Matthew 25:1-13
Mar 23 // Tuesday: Matthew 26:6-13
Mar 24 // Wednesday: Luke 10:25-37
Mar 25 // Thursday: James 5:13-18
Mar 26 // Friday: Numbers 4:16
Mar 27 // Saturday: Exodus 29:1-9
Mar 28 // Palm Sunday: Luke 19:29-40
Mar 29 // Monday: Exodus 28:1-5
Mar 30 // Tuesday: Genesis 37:1-11
Mar 31 // Wednesday: Matthew 5:28-32
Apr 1 // Maundy Thursday: John 13:1-5
Apr 2 // Good Friday: John 19:1-11
Apr 3 // Holy Saturday: Isaiah 7:23-25