THE SEASON OF LENT DURING A PANDEMIC:
THE SAME SPIRIT IN A DIFFERENT FORM!
“But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret;
and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” – Matthew 6:6, the gospel for Ash Wednesday
The familiar words of Lent take on a different sort of meaning this year as we discern how to worship and observe the spiritual practices in the unprecedented context of a pandemic. “Going into our room” is where most of us have been for the past eleven months! Regrettably, that is where we will be this Lenten season, but with hopes that pandemic precautions will soon be easing as vaccines are administered. Lent will be very different this year, and yet, I believe that it can and will be equally Spirit-filled. Perhaps a move away from the familiar and, what can become rote exercises of the season, can open the eyes of faith in a new way. That, at least, is my hope and sense of optimism. For those who cling tightly to tradition – Holden Evening Prayer, soup and sandwich, and a Lenten object for your pocket – please be flexible this year with assurance that your favorite Lenten traditions will not be lost in the future. I have a strong feeling that the Spirit may grace you in new, surprising, and exciting ways this year!
Ash Wednesday Service
February 17, 7 p.m. via Facebook Live
Drive up Ash imposition 9-10 a.m. and 5-6 p.m.
Mid-Week Lenten Services
Worship - 7 p.m. via Zoom
Palm Sunday Weekend
Sunday - 9:30 a.m.
Maundy Thursday - 7:00 p.m.
Good Friday - 8:00 p.m.
Easter Sunrise Worship- 6:53 a.m.
Easter Celebration - 9:30 a.m.
Midweek Lenten Worship - contact church office for zoom link
Created for a Community: A Joint Cincinnati ELCA Congregational Worship Series
February 24 - In Community with Creation
Christ the King Lutheran Church with Pastor Matt Byrd
March 3 - In Community with All The Saints
Ascension Lutheran Church with Pastor Josh Miller
March 10 - In Community with Our Neighbor
Lutheran Church of the Resurrection with Pastors Nicole Kelly & Henry Zorn
March 17 - In Community with Those On the Margins
First Lutheran Church with Pastor Brian Ferguson
March 24 - In Community with Christ
Trinity Lutheran Church with Pastor Jodi Keith
"I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me." Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Lutheran professor, theologian, and pastor, 20th century
"Like the silences punctuating the musical figures of a great symphony, we cannot hear the symphony of the other wherever the space between us is laden with the static of our own words, judgments, and opinions. Silence is essential if we wish to grasp anything at all of the person or community before us." – Christopher Pramuk, Hope Sings, So Beautiful
"Contemplating the suffering and death of Christ intensifies our union with him. It should also draw us to know and love the crucified people of today." – Dean Brackley, The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times
"Fear and walls go hand in hand…" - Richard Beck, Stranger God
Use the congregational devotional book in your prayers during Lent. Notice the diversity of experiences and the message for your spiritual growth.
Pray with your body by attending yoga practice, Fridays from 2-3:10 p.m. throughout Lent.
Carry the object distributed on Ash Wednesday as a reminder of God’s presence. Be mindful of your “Little Bridge” relationship.
Consider attending our Enter the Silence: Awaken the Spirit contemplative worship services on March 12 and April 9 at 7 p.m.
"Fasting is an attempt to align one’s priorities to the will of God. Isaiah (chapter 58) is not calling for a fast, not from food, but from affluence, indifference, and privilege so that the community of faith might live in harmony with God." – Bo Lim, Seattle Pacific University
"Fasting from food and TV and such serves to get clarity about self and world. Part of the reason we fast is to feel the pinch, and part of it is to realize what we can do without from now on, taking a little less of the world that’s already so unequally distributed. We may find that our way of living changed, and we carry Lent’s discoveries far beyond Easter." – Gabe Huck, Follow Me
"The fasting we do in Lent – will it lead us to violence or to justice? The question is as simple and as hard as that." – Gabe Huck
Cut back on work. Work a reasonable schedule.
Fast from one big meal a week.
Fast for a day (some members of LCR have fasted from the time after dinner on Tuesday until dinner on Wednesday, breaking their fast at the meal before worship).
Consider donating the money saved from fasting to LCR’s Mid-week Lenten offering or some other charity.
Fast from the worship of idols during Lent (TV, video games, Facebook, smartphones, exercise, shopping, etc.). Consider the practice of moderation.
Acts of Kindness
"...let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good."- Maya Angelou
"Love is the bridge between you and everything." - Rumi, 13th-century Sufi mystic
"Hospitality isn’t about adding something to your already packed To Do list. Hospitality is, rather, welcoming and being with the people already in our lives: the people at work, the people in our neighborhood, and the people in your kid’s soccer league." – Richard Beck, Stranger God
"You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of one who gives and kindles joy in the heart of one who receives." - St. Seraphim of Sarov, Russian Orthodox saint, 19th century
"Too many religious people make faith their aim. They think ‘the greatest of these’ is faith, and faith defined as all but infallible doctrine. These are the dogmatic, divisive Christians, more concerned with freezing the doctrine than warming the heart. If faith can be exclusive, love can only be inclusive." - William Sloane Coffin, Presbyterian pastor and peace activist
Take part in the meal and fellowship of Soup, Salad, and Sandwich before Mid-Week Lenten Worship
Worship each Wednesday night. Hear the “Bridge Building” witness.
Make a tangible offering.
Take part in the annual Easter Egg Hunt, the morning of Saturday, April 13.
Be intentional about worshipping every weekend during Lent as well as during Holy Week.
Consider contributing to our Lenten monetary offerings
Connect with your “Little Bridge” relationship: coffee, lunch, a card, a text, a phone call, or sit together in worship.
Consider forming/joining a group to worship at Allen Temple AME Church one Sunday in Lent.
Consider attending the Sacred Connections Events: March 23—Zoroastrianism; April 13 - Sikhism. Reservations made at cincifestivaloffaiths.org/sacredconnections
Why ashes on Ash Wednesday?
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline.
Ash Wednesday emphasizes two themes: our sinfulness before God and our human mortality. The service focuses on both themes, helping us to realize that both have been triumphed through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
During some Ash Wednesday services, the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers. The use of ashes as a sign of mortality and repentance has a long history in Jewish and Christian worship. Historically, ashes signified purification and sorrow for sins.
It is traditional to save the palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday service to burn to produce ashes for this service. Sometimes a small card or piece of paper is distributed on which each person writes a sin or harmful or unjust characteristic. The cards are then brought to the altar to be burned with the palm branches. The ash cross on the forehead is an outward sign of our sorrow and repentance for sins
What is Lent and why does it last 40 days?
Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means "spring." The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.
Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter" and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.
Our offering this year will be combined with the offerings of the other churches. Since this is a Cincinnati ELCA effort, we chose Tikkun Farm as beneficiary. Tikkun Farm is a Lutheran-affiliated 3.5 acre farm in the neighborhood of Mt. Healthy which intends to be a place of healing, restoration and repair cultivated through meaningful work and spiritual practices. In the past year, they have done significant feeding ministry with the immigrant community. They are an ELCA domestic hunger grant beneficiary and an organization known to LCR’s Hunger Task Force. The founder, Pr. Mary Laymon, is a colleague of Pastor Nicole and Pastor Zorn.