LENT and EASTER

THEME for Lent 2017 -  Walk with Me

ABOUT:  Lent

The 40 days + Sundays from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.  In the early church, Lent was a time for converts to receive instruction in Christian faith and to practice living the Christian lifestyle prior to their baptism into the faith.  For those who had fallen away from the church, it was a time for reconciliation and return.  And for those who had remained active members of the worshiping community, it was a time of penitence and preparation for the highlight of the Christian year - the festival of Easter and the renewal of the baptismal covenant.  Prayer, fasting, and acts of charity were essential parts of the Lenten season.

ABOUT:  Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent.  It is a day of confession - honestly naming who we are - and a day of committing ourselves to the Lenten journey.  As Christians, we remind ourselves that even though we sin, turning our backs on God and each other, God remains faithful, calling us back again and again to experience God's forgiveness, acceptance, and love.  The dried palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday are burned to produce the ashes which are placed upon the forehead in the sign of the cross.  The ashes remind us of our mortality and are a sign of our repentance.  The sign of the cross reminds us of God's mercy and forgiveness through Christ's death and the gift of eternal life that God has given us.

ABOUT:  Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday takes place on the Sunday before Easter.  This is a time to remember Jesus' joyous entry into Jerusalem where he was proclaimed King.  As he rode into town the people welcomed him by spreading their garments on the road and waving palm branches along the way.  (Matthew 21: 1 - 11; Mark 11: 1 - 11; Luke 19: 28 - 40)

ABOUT:  Holy/Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter.  On this night, Christians remember the last supper Jesus shared with his friends before his arrest and crucifixion.  The gospel of John recounts that Jesus washed his disciples' feet, and talked to them about serving others as Jesus had served them. (John 13: 1 - 17)  Matthew, Mark, and Luke report that the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper (Communion, Eucharist) was instituted that evening.  (Matthew 26: 26 - 29; Mark 14: 22 - 25; Luke 22: 13 - 20)

ABOUT:  Good Friday

The Friday before Easter is called Good Friday.  It commemorates Jesus' death on the cross..  "Good" is an Old English expression for "holy." Services are often held from noon to 3 p.m. - the hours that Jesus spent on the cross. 

ABOUT:  Easter

This festival takes place on a Sunday and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  The message of Easter is Christ's victory over sin, death, and the devil.  This is the oldest festival celebrated by the Christian Church.