Lent & Easter
The creation story in Genesis announces humanities’ beginning in the soil of the earth- taking on earthly form in right relationship with the Divine and the created world; this perfection was named as the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden became symbolic language for that utopia place of peace, love and union with all. In 1970, Joni Mitchell wrote the song,“Woodstock,” telling the story of “a child of God” on a spiritual journey. The chorus resounds, “You are stardust. You are golden. We’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden.”
Before followers of Jesus were called ‘Christian’, they were called People of The Way. The Way ‘back to the garden’ is the perennial wisdom Jesus taught. It’s about prayer, connecting to the Divine, and about forgiveness, non-judgment, and acceptance without worry. This Lent season we will explore The Way back to right relationship in the teachings of Jesus’ the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew.
The Way was also symbolized by circular paths. Prayer labyrinths are found around the world and across cultures as spirals. They are inlaid in cathedral floors from the Chartres Cathedral in France to retreat centers in Nebraska. The prayer labyrinth can be large enough to walk or small enough to hold in your hand and trace the path with your finger.
Lenten Labyrinth Meditation Journey
Parishioners at our Ash Wednesday service received a meditation booklet following this theme and our sermon series for Lent. Lent is much the same as Advent, the season anticipating Christmas. On an Advent Calendar, little windows or pockets hold candy or trinkets which are opened each day in the four weeks prior to Christmas. Each opened space signals we are one day closer to the celebration. Our Lenten labyrinth applies that same concept as we prepare for the Easter celebration of new life. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, color one step of the labyrinth per day to see your movement towards Easter. The pause each day is your invitation to prayer, meditation, and/or scripture, as well. Everyone is invited to join our Lent journey and fill in your Lent Labyrinth as a sabbath practice each day. If you did not receive a book and labyrinth, you can get one on Sunday in worship. There are also larger blank labyrinths available for you to color.
Midweek Prayer and Holy Communion
Wednesdays at 5:45 p.m. in the Chapel
This year for Lent, all are invited to take some time after our fellowship meal on Wednesday evenings and stop by the chapel at 5:45 p.m. for a period of quiet prayer and Holy Communion given by Pastor Jed. Lent is a season of reflection, repentance, and growth as we prepare ourselves for Easter, and taking a moment to draw closer to God and feed your spirit is part of that preparation. So come by, light a candle, pray, take a moment for self-examination, and be filled with the bread and cup of God’s love and blessing.
Wednesdays at 12:00 p.m. at Harbor Coffee House (1265 S. Cotner Blvd)
Drop by Harbor Coffee House any Wednesday of March during the noon hour for some soulful coloring and conversation. Have a beverage or a meal and join in fellowship for some sabbath time with friends. You can also experience the meditative practice of coloring if you wish. Bring your Lent labyrinth to color or choose from some other designs that will be provided along with markers and pencils.
Climate Justice Opportunities
The Climate Justice Team has prepared a new Carbon Reduction Calendar for the 2023 Lenten season. For each day from Ash Wednesday through Easter, the calendar has a suggestion about how to learn more about greenhouse gas emissions or how to go about reducing those emissions.
Access the calendar in three ways:
- To receive daily texts with calendar entries during Lent, text the word “climate” to 97000.
- Access the calendar on the Climate Justice page of the website (saintpaulumc.org/climate-justice/)
- For those who prefer a paper copy, you can find a copy at the back of the sanctuary.
Palm Sunday – April 2
Worship at 10 a.m.
The Sunday before Easter is the last Sunday in Lent. Worship begins with a palm processional commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem thus it is called Palm Sunday. This year our theme has been The Way of Jesus. On Palm Sunday, we follow Jesus as he enters the last week of his life noticing that the Way of Jesus:
- acknowledges suffering exists
- guards against arrogance
- includes time for reflection, prayer, and discernment
- accepts gifts from others in awareness of our mortality
Maundy Thursday – April 6
Worship at 7 p.m.
The name comes from the Latin word “Maundatum” for “commandment.” On this night we gather at the table and share in Holy Communion. After the supper, Jesus spoke to his disciples saying, “I give you a new commandment; that you love one another”. The Way of Jesus is Love.
Good Friday – April 7
Worship at 7 p.m.
On Friday of Holy Week, we bear witness to the violence of this world and those who dedicate their lives to bring peace. In the story of his crucifixion, we see that The Way of Jesus is does not match insult to insult. The way of Jesus is a non-violent response holding true to character and mission of love.
Our Easter celebration is a joyful celebration of the new life that arises from following the Way of Jesus. As we walk our paths of discipleship, we grow in forgiveness, grace and love. We discover our connection to all others and dismantle the falsehood of separation. The Way of Jesus brings union with God and all.
Place your order with Lora Sullivan by March 31.
You may place flowers in the sanctuary on Easter Sunday in honor, or in memory, of a loved one, a friend, or to express any gratitude. To order fill out a form and return to the church office or contact Lora at [email protected] or 402-477-6951. Please place your order by March 31.
Easter Egg Hunt
Easter Egg Hunt after Easter Worship on April 9 at 11 a.m.
Join in the fun of an Easter Egg Hunt immediately following worship on Easter Sunday, April 9. All children in 5th grade and under are invited to participate. The hunt will take place in the children’s classrooms on the second floor. Want to make a candy donation for our Easter Egg Hunt? Drop off small, individually wrapped candies to the church office by March 31.
Lent & Easter FAQ's
Lent is a season of preparation leading up to Easter. It is the forty days before Easter, not including the six Sundays. For centuries, it has been observed as a special time of self examination and penitence. Lent is a time for concentration on fundamental values and priorities, and is not a time for self punishment.
The custom is to mark the season of Lent by giving up some things and taking on others. Both can serve to mark the season as a holy time of preparation. Some examples of things people give up for Lent include sweets, meat for all or some meals, caffeine, and alcohol. In most cases, giving up something for Lent can be made more meaningful by using the money or time for another purpose. For example, meal times on fast days could be spent in prayer. Another example is that if you give up meat during Lent, the extra money that would go to meat dishes can be given to a group, such as World Vision, which works to end hunger worldwide. Some things added during Lent are daily Bible reading, fasting, times of prayer, taking a course of study related in some way to spirituality. Note: Sundays are celebrations of Christ in our midst and are always an appropriate day to lessen the restrictions of Lent.
This is actually the day before Lent begins. The day is named for the “shriving” or confessing that was traditional on this day before beginning Lent. This day is also known as Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday,. because it was a time for eating the things from which one would abstain during Lent. Pancake suppers are traditional as they were a way of using up some of the ingredients not needed during Lent.
The first day of Lent is marked with a special liturgy. The theme for the day, though not for all of Lent, is our mortality. This is symbolized by the imposition of ashes on the forehead, with the words, “You are dust and to dust you shall return”. In the Old Testament, ashes were a sign of penitence (feeling regretful at offenses) and mourning.
This Sunday before Easter is the last Sunday in Lent. The day commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The day is also marked by sometimes reading the story of Jesus’ passion (the word used to describe Jesus’ death comes from ”suffering” which is one old meaning of passion). Some of the Palm Sunday palms are kept and used to make the Ash Wednesday ashes for the next year.
This is the Thursday in Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter). The day is a time for remembering The Last Supper. The name comes from the Latin word “Maundatum” for “commandment” as Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment; that you love one another”. At the conclusion of this service, altars are stripped of any ornamentation and crosses are removed or veiled to mark the solemness of the occasion.
The Friday in Holy Week is a time for remembering Jesus’ death. This is the second day of special observance for which fasting is recommended. One should use discretion in decided how best to observe this day. There is no celebration of Communion from Maundy Thursday until the Easter Vigil on early Sunday.
Easter is one of the principal holidays of Christianity. It marks the Resurrection of Jesus three days after his death by crucifixion. Easter is the joyful end to the Lenten season.