Thursday, March 9, 2017

Mark's thoughts: Why do we have Lent services?

Yesterday after school my middle school age daughter asked, "Why do we have Lent services?"  I gave her a brief explanation, and then told her, "Read the introduction to tonight's bulletin." After the service on Wednesday she brought the bulletin to me and reported that now she understood.

Most Lutheran churches gather on Wednesday nights for Lent services.  But why do we do it?  Here is my answer to the question:

Lutheran piety has always recognized that Lent is a time of preparation and repentance.  As we prepare to observe and celebrate Holy Week and Easter, we take time out to gather together during the week to focus on Christ and His saving work for us; to hear His Word; and to respond in praise and prayer.  We reflect on our need to repent of our sin as we prepare once again to observe the Passion of Jesus Christ during Holy Week. 

Our Lord’s institution of Holy Baptism (Matthew 28:19-20) joined together baptism and catechesis (instruction and formation in the Christian faith).  Lent leads us to the Vigil of Easter and a return to Holy Baptism, for through this Sacrament we have died with Christ the crucified One and have the guarantee of a share in His resurrection (Romans 6:3-5).  Our Lent preparation therefore also includes renewed catechesis.  As the baptized children of God, we seek to learn more about the Christian faith that we confess and live.

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