By Chris Schoon on March 7th, 2019
The liturgical season of Lent begins this week.
The church has celebrated Lent for centuries as a season of intense discipleship, often preparing new believers for their public baptism and profession of faith on Easter Sunday. During this season, the whole church is invited into practices that emphasize repentance and forgiveness, remembering and anticipating, fasting and feasting, and silence and celebration. These practices are intended to draw our attention in a more extended way to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, through which we receive the forgiveness of our sins and the assurance of eternal life.
This year, our congregation will engage the Lenten season through a few common practices. Perhaps most significantly, our worship services will invite us to meditate on the mystery of Jesus’ death and to encounter anew the wonder of his resurrection by celebrating the Lord’s Supper each Sunday morning during Lent. The weekly celebration immerses us in the crucial narrative events of our salvation, particularly during a season in which we seek to become more aware of our sin. In addition to these mornings celebrations, we will celebrate this sacrament in our evening gatherings on Ash Wednesday (March 6) and Maundy Thursday (April 18).
This year, we will also gather for Lenten Evensong services at 6:00pm each Sunday evening throughout Lent. These worship gatherings are shaped by a series of scripture readings, responsive litanies, prayers, silence, and a few songs. They are more contemplative in nature, and primarily draw from litanies formed within the Anglican tradition. On Sunday, March 31, as part of the Evensong experience, Redeemer University College’s concert and alumni choirs will lead us in worship.
Finally, our sermon series during Lent will focus on the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross. These sayings are gathered from across the gospels. Each week we will focus on one key word as a way of immersing ourselves in the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Alongside this sermon series, a family discipleship resource called Lent-in-a-Bag will be available. These bags feature tactile objects and kid friendly devotionals that correspond with the seven sayings of Jesus. Our hope is to provide an opportunity for families to engage the Lenten season throughout the week.
Over the next six weeks, as we remember together that we are dust and recall the great cost of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, I pray that we will also find ourselves strengthened and renewed by God’s lavish love. Together, let us receive the joy-filled hope of Jesus’ resurrection. As the Church throughout the ages has so often proclaimed: “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.”
Grace and Peace,