Excerpt from Ordering Our Days in His Peace: An Introduction to the Christian Church Year, CPH 2009.
To prepare for the celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord on Easter Sunday, we take a season of 40 days to focus on our need to repent of our sins and our need for a Savior from sin. This season of repentance and preparation is called Lent. The resurrection of Jesus is God’s proof that our salvation has been completed and that our hope for eternal life with God is secure. Even during this season when the worship services are penitential and solemn, Sundays continue to emphasize the Gospel of Jesus and the hope of Easter.
Lenten Customs
We use violet as the color for the parements on the altar. Violet is the color of royalty and repentance.
We no longer sing the Alleluias. It appears often in the Psalms and is a joyous expression of faith in God. During Lent, we do not use this joyous response in order to focus on our need for repentance and faith.
Fasting is a common custom during Lent. Fasting is the giving up of a particular meal or time in order to devote time to prayer and meditation on the Word of God. The Small Catechism says that fasting is “fine outward training” before taking the Lord’s Supper.
Midweek services are common during Lent. These are extra times of worship during the week to help us hear God’s word and prepare us to observe Holy Week and celebrate Easter. Here at Zion, we celebrate midweek services, typically focusing on a theme around Lent. This year we are talking about different people who played a part in the passion of Christ and how God used all of these people to accomplish his plan.
Spend time in prayer this Lent. Devote some special time to studying His Word. Reflect, repent, meditate, and realize all that Christ has done for you.
With repentant joy, we receive all the gifts of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.