“The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are at the heart of the Christian gospel, and Good Friday and Easter are two of the most significant celebrations of the Christian year. Lent is a season of preparation and repentance during which we anticipate Good Friday and Easter. Just as we carefully prepare for big events in our personal lives, such as a wedding or commencement, Lent invites us to make our hearts ready for remembering Jesus’ passion and celebrating Jesus’ resurrection The practice of a forty-day preparation period began in the Christian church during the third and fourth centuries. The number forty carries biblical significance based on the forty years Israel spent in the wilderness and Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness. The forty days of Lent begin on Ash Wednesday and continue through holy week, not counting Sundays (which are reserved for celebratory worship). In practice, many congregations choose to focus Sunday worship on the themes of repentance and renewal.”
–Christian Reformed Church
“Just as sacramental theology speaks of a doctrine of the Real Presence, maybe it should speak also of a doctrine of the Real Absence because absence can be sacramental, too, a door left open, a chamber of the heart kept ready and waiting.”
–Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth
For each Lenten milestone, we have suggested both Scripture readings and practices.
Reading the Scriptures will help prepare for each worship service.
Try to take part in one or two of the practices each week. Not all of the practices will be helpful to all believers–you should not try to do them all! And taking part in the practices is a tool to aid you in preparation for the celebration of Easter; they do not make you holy, and they should not become burdensome to you. If you feel condemned because you are not doing enough of them or doing them well enough, stop!
The Beginning of the Lent Season
Ash Wednesday, March 1 7:30 PM service with communion
Scripture readings: Genesis 6:5-13, 9:8-15; Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; 1 Peter 3:18-22
The Temptation of Christ
First Sunday in Lent, March 5 11 AM Sunday service with communion
Scripture readings: Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13; Hebrews 2:17-18; Hebrews 4:14-5:11
Forgiving and Reconciling With Each Other
Second Sunday in Lent, March 12 11 AM Sunday service
Scripture readings: Psalm 25; Matthew 5:21-26; Matthew 18:21-35; 2nd Corinthians 5:16-21
Third Sunday in Lent, March 19 11 AM Sunday service with communion
Scripture readings: Psalm 51; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Luke 18:9-14; John 8:31-59
Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 26 11 AM Sunday service
Scripture readings: 2 Chronicles 36:14-23; Psalm 81; Ephesians 2:11-22; John 2:13-25
Fear of Death
Fifth Sunday in Lent, April 2 11 AM Sunday service with communion
Scripture readings: Hebrews 2:5-15; 1st Corinthians 15:50-58; John 11
Sunday, April 9 11 AM Sunday service
Scripture readings: Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 21:1-11
Friday, April 14 7:30 PM service at church with communion
Scripture readings: Hebrews 10:1-24; Luke 22:7-34; Matthew 27
Sunday, April 16 11 AM Sunday service
Beginning of Eastertide, April 20 – June 8
Scripture readings: Matthew 28; 1 Corinthians 15:1-26; Colossians 3:1-17
• Write out your desires/goals for Lent on a card and hang it in a prominent place in your home.
• Share with someone what you’re asking God to do in your life during Lent and ask them to pray for you.
• Write out a prayer to God for help.
• Write out a confession of some behavior or sin that you know you need to fight against during this Lent.
• Share a meal with family or friends.
• Send a handwritten note to someone who needs encouragement and comfort.
• If you choose to fast, take the time that you would normally use for meals to pray or encourage someone else. Donate the money you would normally spend on those meals to a charity.
• Choose one person and pray for them three times today.
• Read 4 Psalms.
• Ask a neighbor or friend if there is some project or need that they need help with.
• Call or write to someone who you know bears a grudge against you. Try to make amends.
Have a real, face-to-face conversation with someone you disagree with socially or politically. Listen.
• Read the Sermon on the Mount in one sitting.
• Go for a walk in your neighborhood and pray for everyone you see.
• Make a list of things you are grateful for.
• Rewrite a passage of Scripture in your own words.
• Buy someone’s coffee or lunch. If you can do it anonymously, do so.
• Get at least 8 hours of sleep tonight.
• Slow down today and do everything deliberately. Drive slowly, walk slowly, talk slowly, etc.
• To the best of your ability, spend today in silence and solitude.