This year, Wednesday, February 14, is Ash Wednesday, the day that marks the beginning of Lent. This special season of the Christian Church takes its name from the Old English word lencten, “to lengthen,” referring to the lengthening days of spring. Lent consists of the forty days, plus Sundays, prior to Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and culminating with the Holy Week observances of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Modeled on Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, Lent is a time of preparation. In the early Church, it was a time of repentance and instruction, as new believers prepared for baptism at Easter. Today, it remains a time of reflection and repentance—a period when we acknowledge our failures and sins and turn back to the God who forgives and renews us.
Christians have traditionally observed Lent as a time of increased devotion, charity, and self-denial through the practice of prayer, almsgiving, and fasting (the three spiritual disciplines discussed by Jesus in Matthew 6:1-21). Flowing out of the identity that we have as God’s dearly loved children, these practices serve as training exercises that strengthen faith, build up self-control, and support our neighbor. In the Lutheran Church, we maintain that these Lenten disciplines are matters of Christian freedom; they are meant to be opportunities for the spiritual growth, not occasions for guilt. Ultimately, Lent is emphatically not about what we do, but about what God has done for us by giving his Son, who died to free us from our sins and rose again to give us life.
Zion Lutheran Church invites you to join us as we observe Lent and Easter. Beginning with Ash Wednesday services on February 14, Zion will hold mid-week evening services every Wednesday in Lent (through March 21) at 7:30pm, as well as our regular Sunday morning communion services at 10:30am. Children’s Sunday school and adult bible study are at 9:30am. Services will be held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of Holy Week (March 29-31) at 7:30pm, culminating with our Easter Sunday festival worship on April 1 at 10:30am.