Lent 2023- Reflection & Renewal -
What is Lent?
A season of fasting and feasting as we look to the cross, hoping for an empty tomb.
Many folks know Lent as a time to give up chocolates or sodas - almost a religious "new year's resolution" season. But in reality, Lent is a season before the horrors of Holy Week and the glory of Easter to prepare our hearts for what is to come. It is a season to lean into our faith, to learn more, and to inspect our souls. Church takes on a more serious and somber tone in this season, but it is perhaps the perfect time to look inward and reach outward as we join God's Good work in the world.
Should I Give Something Up?
The tradition of lenten practices.
Most world religions have a season for fasting and introspection. In observance of Lent, while we prepare our hearts for Holy Week and Easter, many Christians throughout the centuries have chosen to take on a lenten fast of some sort. Many Roman Catholics give up meat during Lent, especially on Fridays, for example. Lenten fasts are not intended to be a punishment of some kind or a vain ritual, but rather, a purposeful practice meant to re-orient your thinking. Perhaps a lenten fast from something like junk food or fast food is best paired with a practice of donating the money you would have spent to the poor, and donating the time you would have used toward spiritual practice and worship. Many folks find that taking on a new practice in Lent can be just as meaningful, if not more, than choosing to give something up. Creating space for daily structured prayer or the exploration of Scripture may be what you've been looking for all along. In all, adopting a lenten practice is up to you, and if you'd like to explore it further, Rev. Jacob would love to take a moment with you.
What Will We Do Together?
St. John's 2023 Lent Schedule.
This is a "busy season" in the life of the church, and we're glad to experience it with you!
Pancake SupperTuesday, February 21, 6 PM | No cost, bring food if you'd like
A new St. John tradition we began last year! On the evening before Lent begins, we are excited to gather on "Shrove Tuesday" for a fun night of pancakes and fellowship. The church will be providing pancakes and coffee, and Jo Ann has signed up to bring sausage. We could use some breakfast casseroles, juice, and milk. Confirmands are asked to attend so that we can set up for the Ash Wednesday service the next day.
Ash Wednesday Service
Wednesday, February 22, 6 PM
The season of Lent officially begins with this solemn service of Scripture, communion, prayer, and ashes. This year, we are blessed to have our confirmation class assisting with the imposition of ashes and different elements of the service. Remember, you are dust, and to dust you will return.
Lenten Bible Study
Wednesdays, March 1, 8, 15, and 22, 5:30 PM
Through the month of March, we will be meeting on Wednesday evenings at 5:30 for dinner, fellowship and a Bible Study of the book of Revelation. Our guide for the study will be Faithful & True: A Study Guide to the Book of Revelation by Dr. Greg Carey, Professor of New Testament at the UCC's Lancaster Theological Seminary.
Stations of the Cross
Posted in the South hallway throughout Lent
One of the most time-honored ways we remember the cross is through joining Christians around the world in taking a journey through the stations of the cross. For the last few years at our church, we have participated in this tradition by utilizing modern art from a church in Germany. Each station will have a striking image illustrating a place on Christ's journey, a short meditation, and a prayer. Take a few minutes this Lent to walk these stations prayerfully. To schedule a time, contact Jacob.
Sundays at 11 AM
Sunday worship in Lent is rich, reflective, and renewing. Join us each week as we extinguish another candle on our journey, and faithfully walk with Christ the path laid before us. It is only in fully exploring the depths of deep sorrow Christ endured that we will be able to fully celebrate Easter.
Lent Sunday morning worship schedule:
February 26: The First Sunday in Lent
March 5: The Second Sunday in Lent, the Baptism of Cora Louise Haney
March 12: The Third Sunday in Lent, Holy Communion and Confirmation Lesson
March 19: The Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 26: The Fifth Sunday in Lent, Rev. Stephanie Spitzer-Hanks preaching
April 2: Palm Sunday
April 2-9, 2023. The holiest week in our faith.
As Lent draws to a close we remember Holy Week with two special services leading up to Easter:
- Maundy Thursday | April 6 | 6 PM
Join us in the Assembly Room at 6 PM for a potluck supper and fellowship. About 30 minutes in or so, we will transition into a shared time of worship together focused on the Last Supper. Communion will be celebrated.
- Good Friday | April 7 | 6 PM
We will meet in the sanctuary for a somber service of Scripture and Song as we hear again the horrible story of the cross. We leave this service as Jesus has died and is laid in the tomb, contemplating the bleakness of the cross.
Easter Sunday 2023
April 9, 11 AM
After a season of holy preparation, join us for the joy, the splendor, the holy celebration of Easter. More details to come!