Lent is a season of forty days (not counting Sundays) which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan, and preparing to begin his ministry.
For the church, Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism (Oak Grove is, too!). Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to take on a special devotional practice, such as daily prayer or Bible reading.
Our congregation will experience Lent in a special way this year. Each Sunday, our worship and sermon theme will focus on a different day of Jesus’ last week. Following Mark’s account of these days, we will begin on February 18 with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on “Palm Sunday,” and conclude March 25 with a closer look at Jesus and Barabbas on “Good Friday.” This does mean that we will celebrate Palm Sunday on the first Sunday of Lent, not the last. With that somewhat unusual switch, our walk through Holy Week should prove helpful to our discipleship.
Two special things will happen for Holy Week. The first is our regular schedule of Maundy Thursday Love Feast, Good Friday prayer service, and Saturday morning Easter Egg Hunt. The second is a daily Bible reading guide that will again follow Mark’s account of Holy Week, divided into days and sections based on the way Mark accounts for the passage of time in these last days of Jesus’ life.
Finally, on Easter Sunday, our choir will present the cantata Hallelujah! What a Savior! The Crucified and Risen Christ, which will once again walk us through Holy Week.
This means our congregation will encounter some familiar Holy Week stories three times between February 14 and April 1 this year. The repetition is intentional and purposeful. Mark tells the events of Jesus’ life so that we might clearly understand the nature of the Kingdom of God. How is the life Jesus offers to us different from life without Jesus? What does it mean for us to repent (change our minds) and follow Jesus? Join with us as we take another look at some familiar questions.
February 18 – Sunday: Jesus’ triumphal entry – Mark 11:1-11 – Marching in the right parade
February 25 – Monday: Jesus cleanses the temple – Mark 11:12-19 – Cleaning house
March 4 – Tuesday: Jesus teaches – Mark 12:13-17, 28-34 – Giving back to Caesar what doesn’t belong to us
March 11 – Wednesday: Betrayal begins – Mark 14:1-11 – Wasteful devotion and a wasted opportunity
March 18 – Thursday: Prayer and arrest – Mark 14:32-52. – Stand firm or run away? Special all-church Sunday School class on Love Feast
March 25 – Friday: Jesus’ trial and crucifixion – Mark 15:1-15 – Making the wrong choice
March 29 – Maundy Thursday: Love Feast
March 30 – Good Friday: prayer service
April 1 – Easter Sunday: Our Risen Lord – Sunrise Service ( 7:00 am)- Choral Cantata (11:00 am service)