Lent is the 40-day season of the church calendar leading up to Easter. If you’re familiar at all with Lent, it may be as a time when people give something up. While the tradition of giving up something (like chocolate or alcohol or caffeine) is part of Lent, the meaning of season is bigger.
“It is a season to slowly prepare our souls. It is a time to open ourselves to the presence of God in our lives…It is a time to sit among the ashes, confident that love will abound in due time. It is a time to be washed by our tears into the water of new life, to come to real transformation and newness ready to celebrate the feast that is given us at Easter.” (God for Us)
While observation of Lent is by no means a requirement of the Christian life, it can be a helpful time of year for cultivating the presence of God and growing in grace.
Growing with Jesus
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. City Church will hold an Ash Wednesday service on March 1st at 7pm. The service will be held in Beth Ahabah Synagogue (1117 W. Franklin Street). The simple and solemn service leads us to awareness of our mortality, confession of our sin, and worship of Christ as our suffering substitute. The service will include an optional imposition of ashes for those who desire a physical reminder of our finitude before an infinite God.
During Lent City Church will continue to focus on the theme of Growing with Jesus. We will do this by examining how Peter grew during the final week of Jesus’ earthly life. From the triumphal entry to the Last Supper to the crucifixion, Peter’s faith and life was transformed as he stayed near to Jesus. Our hope is that our lives, too, will be transformed as we draw close to Jesus in His suffering on our behalf.
Another historic practice of the church during Lent has been an intentional focus on spiritual disciplines, like prayer, fasting, and confession. To that end, throughout Lent City Church will facilitate special times of corporate prayer. Because it is an essential part of growing with Jesus, as individuals and as a community.
We are hosting 20 Days of Prayer during Lent, with three options for prayer each of the six weeks of Lent:
- Monday evenings from 7:45-8:30pm
- Wednesdays from 12-12:45pm
- Friday mornings from 6:45-7:30am
Our hope is that everyone from City Church will participate in this prayer time at least once during Lent. Some of you may commit to attending once/week. These prayer times will have a simple structure and will be lead by church staff and other members. You can come alone or organize a group of friends (or perhaps your City Group) to attend with you. Let’s look forward to how God will grow us as we commit to seeking His face in prayer.
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.
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 Friday, April 14th, at 7pm at Grace Covenant.
Church Wide Family Friendly Event: Saturday, April 15th, at 4pm. The event will include kid-friendly activities, an Easter Egg Hunt, and a community dinner in Forest Hill Park. It’s a great opportunity for inviting friends and neighbors to learn more about why Christians celebrate Easter.
Easter Sunday: We will have worship at our normal time: 4pm. It is the highpoint of the yearly 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.
Kevin Greene, Associate Pastor at West End Presbyterian Church, maintains a wonderful blog of readings for Lent.
Biola University Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts maintains a multimedia Lent Project that is both beautiful and beneficial.
Meanwhile, City Church's Children’s Ministry Team has prepared a 20 Days of Prayer Guide for families (and individuals) to use in the time leading up to Easter. You can access the entire guide here (PDF) or check the City Church homepage on each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout Lent for that day's guide. Additionally, they have put together a Lenten reading plan based on the Jesus Storybook Bible. A PDF of that plan is available here.