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As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.” John 15:9

After the last few years of Lent under pandemic conditions, I am especially looking forward to the season this year and the return of LCR’s traditions in fullness. Our theme for this year, Closer In, magnifies some of the most meaningful parts of Lent. We will focus on moving closer in to God and to one another.

The beauty of this twofold theme is that the parts are intertwined; as we draw closer to God, we automatically drawer closer to one another and likewise as we draw closer to one another, we automatically draw closer to God. We will explore and embody this theme in a variety of ways throughout the season. 

In the weeks leading up to Lent, everyone is encouraged to pick up a devotional book that will be available in the Narthex for adults, families, and children.

Everyone is also encouraged to sign up for short daily Lenten prayer moments that we will send out via email and through our new church app to anyone who would like to receive them. We'll share sign-up information soon.

These prayer moments will be a way for us to move closer to God in prayer and to one another as we focus our prayers on the same individuals and issues in the world each day together.

For example, a prayer moment may go out saying, “Today we lift the Doppenberg Family in prayer and we pray for peace in Ukraine.” Another might say, “Today we lift the Navajo Lutheran Mission in prayer and we pray for the aching of creation.” It is a blessing to know that we are all offering prayers together for the needs of the world.

Lent officially begins with Ash Wednesday worship and the imposition of ashes on February 22 at 7 p.m. The theme will be unpacked in more detail through the sermon and worship, and the tangible object will be unveiled and distributed.

Our midweek Lenten worship services will be preceded by Lenten soup and sandwich suppers. Opportunities to share a dish will be forthcoming.

Midweek worship will look like years past. We will turn the seats in, have a candle box for prayers, and use the Holden Evening Prayer liturgy.

With theme of Closer In, we have invited speakers from within our congregation and ministries to share about their experiences and passions, how God is at work in and through them.

Our offerings for midweek Lenten services will be divided five ways among the ministries that our speakers represent.

We will do a tangible offering in addition to our financial offerings of seed packets for the Seeds of Hope program of Manna From Heaven.

There will be other opportunities to draw closer in to one another through the season with
an intergenerational, family game night and an intergenerational opportunity to try out 9 Square in the Air!

Lent is a gift for us all. We move through the 40 days reminded of God’s love and called to draw closer in, that we may abide more fully in God’s love.

Lent is always a balm to the soul; I suspect that after years of distancing and heightened fears of Covid, this Lent will be even more so a balm, gift, and blessing.

Mark your calendars and draw closer in!