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A Note from Pastor Bruce

What Is Lent?

Beloved People of God,

This week the Lenten Season begins. As we prepare for this journey it has come to my attention that many in our culture and even in our own congregation don’t really know what Lent is.

What is Lent?

Lent is a 40-Day liturgical season that begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Easter. Sundays are not included in the 40-day count because every Sunday is a joyful celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. Though not described in Scripture, Lent has long been a tradition in the Christian Church, and it is thought that the tradition of the 40 days recalls the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness, fasting and being tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). Lent is considered a time of penance and discipline.

Because of Lent’s penitential nature, worship tends to be more solemn, and purple is the liturgical color of the season. Some congregations remove flowers from the worship space, and for many, songs of praise like the Gloria in Excelsis (“Glory to God in the Highest”) and expressions of joy like the exclamation “Alleluia” (“Praise the Lord”) are removed from the liturgy until Easter. We hold special mid-week worship services, which is often a time for catechetical teaching. This year we will focus on the sacrament of Holy Communion. Join us for the simple suppers and stay for our teaching time. Please see page 8 for more


Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. On this day, Christians focus on their complete sinfulness and the necessity of Christ’s suffering and death to insure their salvation. Ashes are referred to many times in the Old Testament as signs of sorrow, mourning, humility, and repentance, and on Ash Wednesday they are used to remind us of our mortality— “you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). Our church will utilize the ritual called the “Imposition of Ashes.” In this custom, ashes are mixed with a small amount of oil and applied to the forehead of each worshipper. On Sundays we will focus our sermon on the

great questions you have asked. Please see page 3 for more information. Join us on Sundays!

The Sunday of the Passion or Palm Sunday begins the last week of Lent, known as Holy Week. During this holiest time of the church year, the worship services relive the final week or our Lord’s human life. Holy Week includes Maundy Thursday, when Christians observe Christ’s “Last Supper” – the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion—and the mandate to serve one another in love. Good Friday commemorates the imprisonment, trial and death by crucifixion of Jesus. At noon on Good Friday, we will participate in the Louisville Ministerium’s Passion Walk. At 7 p.m. at Belden we will share the Service of Shadows called the Tenebrae. It is one of my favorite services of the year.

The darkness of Lent gives way to the boldness of the light of the resurrection on Easter morning and together we will sing and shout, Christ is Risen!

In Christ,

Pastor Bruce

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