In the daily round of life,
dust and cobwebs accumulate in our souls.
The hidden corners of our hearts
become encrusted with grime
or filled with forgotten debris.
During the weeks of Lent,
God's Spirit is given opportunity
to clear away the clutter,
sweep away the dust and wash us clean.
We are invited to prepare ourselves
heart, soul, mind and body
for the new life of Easter.
Spring Cleaning for the Soul. There are many different aspects to the traditional observance of Lent, but the most important thing about it, as Marlene Kropf reminds us in the quote above, is the way it beckons us to clear away the clutter of our lives and find spiritual renewal. It is a kind of "spring cleaning for the soul."
Like Easter Sunday, the first day of Lent always falls on the same day of the week each year — Wednesday, but not on the same day of the month. This year Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, falls conveniently enough, on the first day of March. I invite each of you to make this season of Lent a time to be on a spiritual journey; a journey you can understand in three ways: in terms of numbers, in terms of the drama of the life of Jesus, and in terms of experiences to which we are invited.
Crunching the numbers. Beginning March 1 and ending April 15, Lent lasts 46 days (31 days in March and 15 days in pril). Those 46 days include the 6 Sundays of Lent (days of worship historically thought of as “little Easters”) and then 40 other days that represent the 40 days of drama, fasting and struggle that Jesus spent in the wilderness at the start of is ministry.
Divine Drama. Lent is also a time to follow the drama of the life of Jesus. It begins with a consideration of the time Jesus spent in his own personal wilderness, wrestling with evil, but it also includes a look at other dramatic moments in his life. During these 6 weeks the Sunday gospel readings will set the tone as they invite us to ponder
- Jesus’ baptism,
- his conflict with the disciples over the meaning of his life,
- his overturning the tables of the moneychangers in the temple,
- his teaching on God’s love and judgment,
- his reflections on his own death,
- and then his amusing/amazing donkey ride into Jerusalem.
Living Our Faith. Most powerfully, Lent is also a journey during which we participate in experiences that invite us to live out our faith. These experiences include
- the ecumenical March 1 Ash Wednesday Worship at Faith Lutheran Church,
- the Soup Supper and "Video Vespers" each Wednesday evening March 8 through April 5,
- the 6 Sunday morning worship services,
- and the Holy Week events of April 9 -16, including an ecumenical Maundy Thursday Communion Service, a Good Friday Service in our sanctuary, and an Easter Sunrise Service at Buena Vista Cemetery.
I want to say a very special thank you to those groups in the church who will be hosting the Soup Suppers on Wednesday evenings through Lent: Christian Ed Board (March 8); Diaconate (March 15); Music Committee (March 22); Mission Board (March 29); and Health Ministry Committee (April 5). Join us to appreciate the fruit of their labors and then to share in a time of prayer and worship as we experience Lent to the fullest.