This week most of American secular sentiment is reacting to Super Bowl Sunday or preparing for Valentine’s Day (with a dash of the New Hampshire primary hysteria thrown in). Meanwhile, the Church calendar celebrates Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the 40 day long period known as Lent. The word Lent is derived from a word meaning Spring, since it coincides with the change of the season. Many of us associate Lent solely with the practice of giving something up—alcohol, chocolate, meat, caffeine. Such discipline has a long pedigree within the history of the Church during Lent as Christians reflect on their sin and focus on growing in personal holiness before the Lord. The discipline of giving something up for Lent should point to giving up sin, which is the real motive of sanctification. Of course, Lent can also be a fitting time to take up something new—like committing to read the Bible regularly, to pray daily, or to give generously to others. Make no mistake, Lent as a season is extra-Biblical. Its observance is not required for faithfulness to God. However, it can be a useful practice that draws us closer to Jesus. Through intentional awareness of our sinfulness and broken-ness, we are prepared for the astounding news of Easter, the resurrection of the dead, the new life of Christ that comes to sons and daughters of Eve. At City Church we are committed to helping you to walk faithfully with God through Lent, as you ready for Easter. Whether you are abstaining from some type of food, fasting one day a week, or fostering a new spiritual discipline such Bible reading or prayer, we want to support you.
Here is a list of some resources to help you see Jesus more clearly this Lent.
Ash Wednesday Service
February 10th at 7pm at All Saints Reformed Presbyterian Church (3000 Grove Avenue). All are welcome. Because Ash Wednesday is a day of confession and repentance, the service will include an optional imposition of ashes as a tangible sign of our sinfulness and mortality, as well as celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
Kevin Greene, Associate Pastor at West End Presbyterian Church, maintains a wonderful blog of readings for Lent.
Jennifer Murphy has a prepared a Lenten Devotional for families to use in the time before Easter. She will have copies of it available on Sunday or you can email her firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, Jennifer has located a Lenten reading plan based on the Jesus Storybook Bible. A PDF of that plan is available here.
Biola University Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts maintains a multimedia Lent Project that is both beautiful and beneficial.
Church Wide Family-Friendly Event
Saturday, March 26th, at 4pm, at Forest Hill Park. The event will include kid-friendly activities, dinner, and an Easter Egg Hunt. It’s a great opportunity for inviting friends and neighbors to learn more about why Christians celebrate Easter.
The 40 days of Lent don’t include the Sundays because they serve as mini-resurrections. They are feast days when, in the midst of longing, we remember the great victory of God in Jesus through worship and through the Feast of the Lord’s Supper.
Holy Week Services
Good Friday Service: The Good Friday service is a somber service of Lessons and Songs to help us mark the Passion of Jesus Christ our Lord. Join us on March 25th, at 7pm, at Grace Covenant. This service will be held in partnership with Grace Community Presbyterian Church and the Northside Church of Richmond.
Easter Sunday: We will have worship at our normal time–4pm. It is the highpoint of the Church calendar as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ Jesus. Additionally, we encourage you to plan an Easter feast for your family and friends and even neighbors. Easter is a wonderful opportunity for Christians to declare through their words and their celebration our hope beyond this life and this death.