Lent in the midst of a Pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic a year ago, the church has not waivered in its mission to preach the gospel. As we approach this one year mark, we find ourselves entering into the season of Lent.  Lent is a time when we slow down and consider our Lord's death.  We take extra time to study the word of God and practice many different spiritual disciplines all in the hope to deepen our faith.  This year, we will not have our normal gatherings, but we still will make the most of our time in this season of Lent. 

As Lent approaches, you may have questions as to how you are to prepare and what you are to do during these forty days.

For many people, Lent is a time when we give things up, but there is so much more to Lent than just giving up cake or coffee.  Instead of giving something up for Lent, try doing something instead:

Reading a book, waking up in the morning and praying, reading a chapter from the Bible a night; working at a soup kitchen; walking to work, walking once a night with your family, playing a game with your family once a week, turn off your phone one day a week and spend that time with your family, volunteer to help around church, do some manual labor, or simply clean the the garage. 

These are a few ideas, but really all you need to do is look at your life and see the places that are lacking your presence. The possibilities are endless.

  • Come to both the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday Services.  These are very important worship times in the church for we will hear how Jesus won our salvation. These services remind us of our salvation and the story we so love to tell. Without these two services, Easter makes no sense. So come and learn why we gather on Easter.
  • Give up a meal once a day and use the money for that meal to help the needy. This has been a tradition in the Roman Catholic Church for years. You simply skip a meal and place that money that you normally would have spent on that meal and give it to the poor.  Put that money aside that you would have spent and donate it ELCA World Hunger or another cause close to your heart
  • Do not eat meat on Fridays or maybe Monday (meatless-Monday).  Again, this has been a tradition in the Catholic Church for year, but it is another way you might find some spiritual growth.  Sometimes, failing at this discipline teaches more than actually keeping the discipline.  For in failing, you will see just how dependent we are on meat in our diet, where many in the world are lucky to have meat once a month.
  • Come on Wednesday for food and prayer.  This is not just self promotion.  Come and fellowship with other Christians and deepen your faith.  Martin Luther once said, "Anyone who is to find Christ must first find the church. How could anyone know where Christ is and what faith is in him unless he knew where his believers are?"   So come find Christ and see Christ in the face of your brothers and sisters.
  • SPEND TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY.  I don't think I can stress this enough. Spending time with your family is so important these days. In the blink of an eye, tragedies can strike. Take as much time as you can to be the people you love and who love you the most.
At the February 2021 Table Talk, Pastor Matt and Diane discussed some spiritual practices that you can this year as well:

Still don't know what to do? Try watching this movie for some more insights!  

Why should we bother with Holy Week?

Holy Week began because the church, after the Roman Empire converted all its citizens to Christianity, had to find a way to educate large groups of people sbout the passion of our Lord.  However, these times of worship are not us crucifying Jesus once again but rather as a way for us to remember.
To help answer some of your questions about these three days, we have gathered a few resources for you to read and watch.
The Triduum are the three holy days that happen the week in between Palm Sunday and Easter.  These days are called:  Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil (we hold our vigil at Sunrise on Easter Morning though traditionally the Easter Vigil is held on Saturday evening) are three days in the church year when we physically walk with Jesus from the table, to the cross, and to the tomb so that we might ponder the mystery of the Easter. On Easter morning, we go with Mary Magdalene and witness with her, Jesus rise from the dead, but the three days before Easter explain why we even need to gather on Easter.  These three days are important and go hand-in-hand.  One does not make sense without the other.  Though it might be hard to make it to church three times in a row, coming to these services are a great reminder of why we gather on Sunday mornings in the first place! Of course, the best way to learn more about these Three Days is to experience them first-hand!