Lent is a period of forty days in which the Church prepares itself for the celebration of Easter. It is a season of penitence and renewal, of careful self-examination and deepened devotion through worship, study, and acts of charity. The restrained character of our worship will hopefully help us to open ourselves to God’s word through prayer and meditation. During this season we omit the word “Alleluia” from our liturgy. We sing “Lord, have mercy” instead of “Glory to God in the highest” and “Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world” instead of “Alleluia, Christ our Passover is sacrificed.”
The Biblical precedent for the season is found in Jesus’s Spirit-led period of prayer and fasting in the desert, in which he was tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). Forty is the salutary number in the Old Testament for such periods of cleansing and preparation: Noah was in the ark for forty days, and the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years.
The forty days of Lent between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday do not include the Sundays. All Sundays, even the Sundays during Lent, are feasts of our Lord Jesus and celebrations of his Resurrection. Therefore their designation as Sundays in Lent (and not of Lent) is significant. It is also significant that while the fast (Lent) is forty days long, the feast (Easter) is fifty days. The power of the Resurrection trumps everything.
Lent I – February 26
Please click on the links below to hear music from this service. Download the service leaflet here.
arr. Whalum: Sweet home
Kristine Chaney, solo
Hymn 339, Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness (Schmücke dich)
stanza 2, setting bt Donald Busarow (1934-2011)