Ash Wednesday is March 1, which is traditionally the start of Lent, a time of preparation for Easter. During Lent we take time to draw closer to the Lord by examining our lives, repenting from sin, and deepening our prayer life. The six weeks of Lent lead up to Holy Week, where we focus on the final week of Christ’s life.
During Holy Week we remember Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday), the Last Supper (Holy Thursday), and his death on the Cross (Good Friday). Finally, we celebrate Jesus’ victory over death when we remember his resurrection from the dead (Easter).
Taken together, these are a dramatic six weeks! New this year: We will be celebrating Good Friday here at SUMC with Tenebrae, the service of shadows that is a remembrance of the last day of Jesus, beginning the night he was betrayed up until the crucifixion.
During Lent I encourage you to commit to one practice that helps you draw closer to the Lord. Included in the newsletter is a guide, though there are many others. Read this article from Upper Room ministries for other ideas: http://www.upperroom.org/lent101. The article also gives a nice backgrounder.
The sermon series for Lent will focus on some key characters from the Gospel of John – Nicodemus, the Samaritan Woman, the Blind Man, and Lazarus – and what they can tell us about drawing near to God. The 4- week series will be bracketed with a look at Jesus’ temptation in the desert and Palm Sunday. I hope you will join us each week to dive deeper into your relationship with Jesus.
There is a traditional hymn that sums up the purpose of Lent: Take Time to be Holy. I leave you with the first verse as an encouragement for your Lenten journey:
Pastor Eric Nelson