The Season of Lent, a 40 day time of spiritual preparation before Easter, begins Wednesday, March 1. We will offer a special worship service that night in the Celebration Center at 6:00 p.m. We will burn the palm branches from last year's Palm Sunday service, and then impose those actions on the foreheads of everyone. The ashes are a symbol of our brokenness and need of divine grace. This year at Grace we'll have several different opportunities to participate in:
- Our sermon series will be from Paul's Letter to the Romans. Romans is a complex book. It is especially important to read during Lent, because one of its key themes is overcoming the power of sin to live a life of righteousness God offers us in Jesus Christ. I invite you to read along as a devotional time during Lent.
- I'll offer a Lenten Bible study: “The Death of the Messiah.” We offered a similar study during Advent. We will explore each of the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ passion: his betrayal, arrest, trial, and crucifixion, noting their similarities and differences. Studying the different gospel accounts of the Passion always brings up great questions. In addition to the gospel texts, at the beginning of each session we will explore an artistic depiction of Jesus’ passion as it relates to that evening’s gospel material. Four Wednesdays: March 22 and 29, April 5 and 12, 5:30-7:00 p.m., upstairs.
- Holy Week services: Palm/Passion Sunday (April 9), Holy Thursday (April 13), Good Friday (April 14). Easter Day is April 16.
In addition to reading Romans on your own, I hope everyone will make a renewed effort to attend
worship during Lent. We'd love to see you! Our family will miss a couple of Sundays during Lent.
The boys will go to my parents' home in Bay City. Christy and I are going to Italy to celebrate our
20th anniversary. We always said we would do this, and now it's here! Neither of us has been.
Pastor Leon will preach for me March 12 and 19.
To get you set for Lent, here is a psalm reading and some prayers from the Taize community
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard (Isaiah 58:6-8). God our Father, you want us to become new creatures in Christ. We pray to you. Lord, you promise us new heavens and a new earth. Renew our hope. You have freed us from slavery by giving us your only Son; you open for us the way of freedom. Enable us to listen to your Word and to welcome it with hearts filled with love. We were dead and you brought us back to life through the Spirit; we were sinners and you
continually restore us to purity of heart. God of peace, you do not want us to know relentless worry but rather a humble repentance
of heart. It is like a surge of trusting that enables us to place our faults in you. And then, by
the inner light of forgiveness, little by little we discover a peace of heart.
Prayer for Each Day, 1997 and 1998 Ateliers et Presses de Taize