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Lent at Saint Paul United Methodist Church

This year our worship during Lent follows Jesus on his challenging path that announces suffering as part of life and confronts egos that get in the way.

We invite you to worship with the Saint Paul UMC community either on-line or in-person each Sunday morning.

Our worship continues to be predominately virtual, but the sanctuary is open on Sundays for those who need sacred space. Face coverings and social distancing is required, and we cannot linger with one another or fellowship as we would like. It isn’t a full return to the way things used to be, but gradually a few are finding meaning just being in the sanctuary.

Wednesday Meditation, Prayer and Song

Wednesdays at 6 pm

The sanctuary will be open at 6 p.m. for Silence and Centering Prayer. There will also be a printed devotional of prayers and scriptures for your personal meditation time. At 6:15, meditative music will begin as people continue their personal prayers. At 6:30, we will share in poetry, prayer and song. The 6:30 portion of the evening will be streamed on our website and Facebook. Wednesday evening worship begins on February 17th, Ash Wednesday. 

Holy Week

Climate Action Team Lent Carbon Calendar

We invite our Saint Paul community to consider how our daily activities impact our carbon footprint. The Saint Paul Climate Justice team has compiled a Lenten Carbon Fast Calendar with daily suggestions on how we can educate ourselves on the climate change crisis and reduce our carbon footprints. 

Access the calendar in three ways:

  1. To receive daily text updates from the climate action calendar, text the word “carbon” to the number 97000.
  2. Visit this link and “Join Group” to get daily calendar reminders.
  3. Download the PDF version here.

FAQ's about Lent

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.              

A Prayer for Lent

Loving God, we pray that you make the weeks of Lent a time of pilgrimage and a spiritual growing season. We ask for the wisdom to claim it as a period for slowing our pace and for developing a sense of personal peace. Help us to overcome the temptations that divert us from paying attention to your will, temptations that prevent us from attaining fullness of faith. When we are tempted to neglect worship, recall us to a deep enjoyment of Word and sacrament. When we are tempted to become self-centered, remind us that it is you who made us and not we ourselves. When we are tempted to ignore the health of your creation, renew our understanding of the earth which births all life. When we are tempted to value convenience over compassion, restore our capacity to care deeply. Grant us, during the Lenten season ahead, a discipline and direction that will strengthen and guide our spirits to see your Presence in all. Amen.