Lent to Holy Week 2024

Lent means Spring. As winter’s bare trees give way to green new shoots, in the season of Lent a worship theme is death leading to new life. We’ll hear Jesus’ words about taking up the cross, losing your life to find it (Feb 25), and about a single grain buried in the earth growing to bear much fruit (Mar 17). Lent originated as a time of preparation for baptism, when those new to the faith “died” to their old ways and were “raised” to a new life with Christ.  Our 9am conversations will center around baptismal identity and spirituality.  In our own lives, what’s coming to an end?  What new thing is God doing?

Midweek Soup Supper and Evening Prayer

A wonderful Lenten tradition is to gather for a simple meal and prayer. Soup or other bowl food, including a vegetarian option, will be served from 6-7pm Thursdays, February 22 through March 21.

At 7pm we’ll circle up in the front the sanctuary and light the lantern for Holden Evening Prayer, a warm and lovely sung service that lasts less than 30 minutes. This year very brief reflections will be offered on the theme: “The Our in Our Father.” Each week (actually beginning on Ash Wednesday) we’ll ponder 1-2 lines of the Lord’s Prayer and ask how we can pray and live for unity against political polarization, income inequality, social isolation, war and other forms of division.

Afterwards (7:30pm) all are welcome to sing with the FLC Choir.

Visual art: Ruins

In the newsletter and on the website there’s an image that goes along with each Sunday. During Lent, these will be images of ruins: a city or building comes to an end – to ruin – and yet new things can happen there. I used to like taking my kids to California’s ruins – such as the old Los Angeles Zoo (see photo). There’s no more animals, but now kids can see what it’s like to inhabit the old cages.

In scripture (Mar 3) we’ll hear Jesus’ words on the ruin of Jerusalem’s temple, a catastrophe for Judaism, and yet there would be resurrection. Images of the ruin in Gaza and Ukraine and other places are with us, and we don’t give up hope.

Lenten Disciplines

The practice of fasting (such as from eating meat) is the most famous Lenten discipline – based on the forty days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness.  The goal isn’t self-improvement, but facing one’s appetites and needs, trusting in God to renew us.

For almsgiving, our “Called to Care” partner for extra giving during the season of Lent will be the Ecumenical Hunger Program, which provides food, clothing and other assistance to people in our area.

Prayer is the third traditional discipline: see above for information on the Midweek preaching series on the Lord’s Prayer.

Holy Week and Easter

Lent concludes with the beautiful festivals of Holy Week and Easter. All ages will be invited to participate and assist:
Sunday, March 24 – 10am – Palm and Passion Sunday
Thursday, March 28 – 6pm – Maundy Thursday Dinner and Worship
Friday, March 29 – 7pm – Good Friday Worship
Saturday, March 30 – 7pm – Easter Vigil Worship and Reception
Sunday, March 31 – 10am – Easter Sunday Worship, preceded by breakfast and egg hunt.