Thinking About...Lent 2013

When I was new to the Christian faith, we were taught to give our “testimonies”; that is, to tell the story of who we were before Jesus was part of our lives and after he was part of our lives. These testimonies always ended with a significant Bible verse, and a popular one was Galatians 2:20. That verse says: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” It is a good verse for understanding the time of the church calendar called Lent. Lent is the six weeks leading to Easter--the Church’s greatest holiday (holy day). Lent is a time of preparation for the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is a time for the Church to repent from sin so that it can find its full life in Christ. (Last year I wrote two brief posts-here and here--that describe Lent in greater detail.)

“I have been crucified with Christ.” Lent is that time in the Church calendar when we can reflect on our crucified identity. As we focus our attention on the death of Jesus, we are led to repent of our sin, for which Jesus died. For many during Lent that repentance also manifests through giving up certain tangible things. In this way we practice a bodily crucifixion of sorts to demonstrate our solidarity with Christ.

“The life I now live I live by faith.” But Lent is also a time of year when we practice living by faith. It is not only a time for putting habits to death, it is also a time for the new life of Christ to be formed in us. In addition to giving something up, many Christians choose to take up new practices during Lent, manifesting our union with Christ.

Lent at City Church

City Church will mark the beginning of Lent this year with an Ash Wednesday service tomorrow, February 13th, 2013. It will take place at Beth Ahabah at 7pm. No childcare will be provided, although all (including children) are invited to attend. The service is designed to help us to remember our mortality, to repent of our sin that led to Christ’s death, and to receive assurance of the forgiveness that He bought with His death.

Additionally, City Church is providing a few other resources to help you observe Lent this year:

Children’s Ministry Director, Jennifer Murphy, has put together a devotional so that families can observe Lent through reading the Bible and prayer. These will be available beginning Sunday, February 10th, or by contacting Jennifer at jennifer@citychurchrva.com.

Pastor Kevin Greene at our sister church, West End Presbyterian Church, has curated a Lenten blog with readings and artwork aimed at drawing us into a fuller worship of God. That blog can be accessed here.

City Church member and local artist, Kim Nix, has set up a shared tumblr to curate work over the next 40 days. She is encouraging others to “create everyday over the next 40 days” as a spiritual discipline that will help to foster community. You can learn more about the tumblr--and get access to it--by contacting Kim directly at Ktnix5@gmail.com.

Finally, throughout Lent various members of City Church will post reflections on our website to help our collective preparation for Easter. We hope that you will take this opportunity to be shaped by the calendar of the Church and not simply the secular calendar counting down the days until Spring Break.

If you have other questions about how you can encounter Christ through observing Lent this year, please contact me at erik@citychurchrva.com.