Ash Wednesday Services
Wednesday, March 6 at 7am or Noon
Lent is a forty day preparation period (excluding Sundays) leading to Easter Sunday. The forty days is reflective of the sin of Israel, who wandered in the desert for forty years (Numbers 14:34) and the victory of Jesus, who was cast in the wilderness forty days but overcame temptation (Matthew 4:1-11).
In the same way that we prepare for major events in our lives–a wedding, a trip to a distant place, etc., so we ready our hearts to remember the passion of Jesus and celebrate his resurrection. This is a journey that we enter, believing that God may use this like a tool to shape our thinking and living in ways to look more and more like Jesus.
Lent begins with a unique day called “Ash Wednesday” where we reflect on the frailty of our fallen human condition. We look solemnly at the curse that was pronounced over man in Genesis: for you are dust, and to dust you shall return (Genesis 3:19).
We see the beginnings of this practice formed in the later part of the first century as those who were to be baptized would enter a short season of instruction and fasting prior to baptism. During this period the church community would join them. Later, this journey became forty days.
A key component of the preparation of Lent is fasting. Fasting has two interlocking components–the giving up of something lesser and the taking on of something greater. In the wilderness, when Jesus was fasting, Satan came to tempt him saying, “command these stones to become loaves of bread” but Jesus responded quoting Deuteronomy 8, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 3:3-4) Jesus gave up temporary provision to show where true provision is found. Sundays during Lent are never fast days because they represent the resurrection and therefore a day of feasting.
What does “Lent” mean?
The word “Lent” is related to the word “lengthen”, which means “spring”. The time of year when the days lengthen and new life ‘springs’ forth.
Isn’t Lent a Roman Catholic thing?
Lent is first of all a uniquely Christian thing. The early church practiced Lent from the third and fourth centuries. This was far before Roman Catholicism existed in the form we know it today. This practice was seen as a helpful expression of repentance to prepare a congregation for Easter Sunday and also a season of preparation for individuals for baptism.
Why are we observing Lent?
We’ve chosen to observe this unique season because in correspondence to the many reasons listed above, we are always looking for ways to remind ourselves of the good news of Jesus and Lent is a journey that calls our heart to do just that.
How can I lead myself (and my family) during Lent?
We would recommend (for individuals and families) to acquire the 40-day devotional by Tim Keller (available at the Bookshelf). This short piece contains a thought and Scripture for each day of Lent and is simple enough to walk through with young kids (with some adult help of course).
As you journey with us during Lent, we encourage you to pick up a couple resources to guide your heart as you prepare for the passion and resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. These resources are available at the Bookshelf (see Info Center).
Drawing our Attention & Affection to Jesus
We want to direct you to view a sermon series from 2017 that will shed light on the significance of each Sunday of the Lenten season.
A Journey Through Lent
This 40-day devotional will walk you through key scriptures and thoughts during the Lenten season.
40 Days of Decrease
This 40-day devotional invites readers into a daily fast of the stuff that sticks to our souls and weighs us down.