For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 (English Standard Version)
What is Lent?
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 2nd and ends Saturday, April 16th. It is the forty day period leading up to Easter, in which we are encouraged to consider our own faith journey. We remember that it was sin that put Christ on the cross, and we reflect on our own sin, and need for forgiveness. We examine our thoughts, attitudes and actions, and see where we need to repent and change to become more like Jesus Christ. Here are some Lenten facts:
During Lent you will notice a few changes in our worship service:
- Pastor Rebecca will wear her black robe, signifying the solemnity of the season.
- There will be no flowers on the altar, and some other parts of the service will change, symbolizing the somber tone of the season.
- The altar cloths, choir vestments and Rebecca’s stole will be purple, a color of penitence. It is also a color of royalty, and so anticipates the victory that Christ will conquer death.
A few other Lenten facts:
- The word Lent stems from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “spring.”
- The earliest observances of Lent were in the days of the apostles, when they observed 40 hours between Good Friday and Easter morning. At the Council of Nicaea, in AD 325, Lent was extended to 40 days.
- Sundays are not included in the 40 days, as they are considered “little Easter’s.”
- Lents reminds us of the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness, the 40 days of the flood; the 40 years the Israelites wandered in the desert and the 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and his ascension.
- Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the day of the vernal equinox (first day of spring.)
Ash Wednesday ~ We will begin our Lenten journey on Ash Wednesday March 2nd. There will be two opportunities to receive communion and ashes. Pastor Rebecca will be in the chapel from Noon-12:30pm for the imposition of ashes and to offer communion. You are free to stop by whenever you can during that time. Then at 7:00pm, there will be a service in the sanctuary with scripture, music, communion and the imposition of ashes. This service will also be livestreamed.
40 DAY CHALLENGE FOR LENT
We encourage you to do something each day of Lent and remember Christ’s sacrifice. (The 40 days do not include Sundays). Listed below are things you can do as part of your Lenten discipline. There are more than 40 options, as not all of them will apply to everyone.
___ Go to an Ash Wednesday service
___ Drive to an appointment in silence and relish the peace and quiet
___ Sign up for the Lenten study
___ Write a thank you note to someone who is under-appreciated
___ Compliment a stranger
___ List 10 things you’re thankful for
___ Drop off goodies to fire/police
___ Read through one chapter of the Gospels
___ Bring coffee or a treat to someone
___ Clean up on area of your house that needs it
___ Send a random text or email to brighten someone’s day
___ Bring in extra change for “Change the World”
___ Give a gift to a service worker (dry cleaner, bank teller, store clerk, etc.)
___ Say a prayer for John Wesley UMC
___ Do a random act of kindness
___ Return a grocery cart
___ Introduce yourself to someone at church you don’t currently know
___ When you go out to eat, stop and say a prayer with whoever you are with
___ Contact a close friend and tell them how they have impacted you
___ Post a Bible verse on Facebook
___ Fast from one meal and think about your blessings
___ Think of your favorite hymn, and say it as a prayer
___ Turn off your phone or TV for an hour and read, take a walk, call a friend, etc.
___ Pray for someone you wouldn’t consider a friend
___ Forgive someone who hurt you or apologize to someone you hurt.
___ Forgive yourself for something
___ Read Psalm 8 and reflect on what it says to you
___ Look for someone in need and pray for that person
___ Go through the closet and donate something you don’t need
___ Think of something that’s bothering you and spend 5 minutes in prayer
___ Say the Lord’s Prayer through and really think about the words
___ Come to the Maundy Thursday service
___ Come to the Good Friday service
___ Compliment your spouse or child
___ Intentionally refrain from gossip
___ Fast from an unhealthy food choice
___ Leave a thank you note for your food server
___ Recycle – use a zip lock bag more than once
___ Park away from the store to walk and get more exercise
___ Go through the Holy Week Prayer Walk
___ Invite a friend to church
___ Talk to a child/youth from our church
___ Commit to being joyful for a full day
___ Talk with and listen to someone you would normally brush aside
___ Think what Jesus’ death means to you
___ Put a prayer on our prayer wall
___ Make a dinner for the youth group
___ Come to Wednesday Prayer group during Lent
___ Fast from something meaningful and think about Christ’s sacrifice for you
Healing Service – Sunday, March 20th.
During Lent, we are encouraged to look at the dis-ease in our lives, to see where we need change, healing and the wholeness God offers. This dis-ease can be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or a combination. Through the ages, the Church has offered services where healing is preached, prayers are offered, and those who wish may receive an anointing of holy oil. This is a normal worship service, but you will be invited to come forward, if you wish, and have the sign of the cross placed on your forehead for healing you need in your life. If you have any questions, please see Pastor Rebecca.
Lenten Prayer Vigil ~ As we all know prayer is an important part of our spiritual journey especially during the Lenten Season. We will be having a Lenten Prayer Vigil beginning at 6am on Monday March 21. The Prayer Vigil affords you time to sit quietly and share your thoughts and prayers with God. More importantly, when we come together to offer a continuous chorus of prayers to the Lord, our prayers and connection to each other and to God are made even stronger. You may participate in the prayer vigil by coming to pray in the chapel at John Wesley or you may pray from home. Prayer guides will be made available. The prayer vigil will extend at least until 6am Tuesday March 22. Our past two prayer vigils have been remarkable in that they have lasted for over 48 hours. Details about how to sign up for an hour time slot will be made available as we get closer to the event.
Prayer Wall ~ In conjunction with the Prayer Vigil, we will once again set up our Prayer Wall outside the church. We encourage everyone to take a moment to add your hopes, needs and prayers to our wall. All prayers posted on the wall will be collected and placed on the altar on Easter Sunday. During the Easter Sunday Service, Pastor Rebecca will raise them up offer a special blessing upon them. Besides giving you another opportunity to offer you prayers to God and to come together as a community of faith, it makes a huge statement to the community-at-large about the importance of having a relationship with God.
Prayer Walk ~ During Holy Week we will once again set up our Prayer Walk in the sanctuary providing you with a chance for further reflection on some of the scripture readings you will hear throughout the Lenten season. We will have a Maundy Thursday Service on April 14 at 7:00pm and a service at noon on Good Friday April 15. On Easter Sunday, April 17, services will be at 8:30am and 10:30am. Look to the April Newsletter for details on these events.
Masks ~ As of Sunday, February 27th, we no longer require that masks be worn during Sunday morning services. However, we encourage those that feel more comfortable wearing a mask to continue to wear one. Thank you again for your patience and understanding as we have moved through this pandemic. Let’s pray that the worst is behind us once and for all!