Lent, Holy Week, and Easter 2023
Wednesday, February 22 | 7:00pm
On Ash Wednesday we begin our forty-day journey toward Easter with a day of fasting and repentance. Marking our foreheads with dust, we acknowledge that we die and return to the earth. At the same time, the dust traces the life-giving cross indelibly marked on our foreheads at baptism. While we journey through Lent to return to God, we have already been reconciled to God through Christ. We humbly pray for God to make our hearts clean while we rejoice that “now is the day of salvation.” Returning to our baptismal call, we more intentionally bear the fruits of mercy and justice in the world.
Our Sunday worship in Lent takes on a more solemn character than the rest of the year. Our hymns and liturgies invite us to take a "deep dive" into the truth about the human condition. We name out loud the ways our lives are in need of healing, and of how we contribute to the brokenness of the world. We are met by a God of mercy and love who never grows tired of welcoming us back home. In addition to Sunday mornings, there are opportunities each Wednesday night during Lent for confession and forgiveness, dinner, and a contemplative service of evening prayer.
On the Wednesdays of Lent, we will gather for a meal and our contemplative service of Evening Prayer. We will also read and discuss a small and very accessible book called Baptized, We Live: Lutheranism as a Way of Life by Dan Erlander. Free copies of the book are available at church. If you've ever wanted a basic "Christianity 101" refresher, this is for you!
We will discuss the unique way Lutherans understand the faith as a way of seeing, hearing, teaching, and following. We will cover all the basics of Christian belief and practice from a distinctly Lutheran point of view. This will not be a lecture, but a fun, interactive time of exploring our faith together!
Pastor Jon is also available for private confession and forgiveness on any of these nights. Sometimes it is a good and healthy thing to say what needs to be said out loud and receive the assurance of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness.
Stay here and keep watch with me
the hour has come;
Stay here and keep watch with me
watch and pray.
These are the days of awe, brothers and sisters. They are days to regain our balance... to return to what matters... to hear our story again with new ears and eyes.
Holy Week is about connecting our stories with God's story. They are the most beautiful liturgies of the year. They help make it all real once again. The hour has come. Watch, pray, and be made new.
Sunday, April 2 | 10:30am
Palms are an ancient symbol of celebration and joy. When Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem for the last time, he was greeted by a crowd of children and adults, waving palm branches and shouting “Hosanna in the highest!”
On this day we gather with our palm branches to welcome Jesus as our king. But the mood changes quickly as we see that our king is not destined for power or fame, but wears a crown of thorns and is enthroned upon a cross. Almost as soon as we picked them up, we lay our palms down to hear the dramatic reading of Jesus’ passion and death for our salvation.
Thursday, April 6 | 7:00pm
We began Lent by confessing our sin and being marked with ashes. On this night we gather as Jesus’ disciples to receive a personal word of forgiveness as from the Lord himself.
In obedience to Jesus’ command to love one another, we bare our feet (or our hands) and allow them to be washed by one of our sister or brothers in faith. We celebrate the last supper — the meal he instituted on the night in which he was betrayed. Just as Jesus was stripped of his clothes as he was led to the cross, the night ends in total darkness with the stripping of the altar, as all the beautiful adornments in the church are put away, preparing us for the starkness of Good Friday.
Friday, April 7 | 7:00pm
On the surface, it might seem crazy to refer to the day that Jesus died as “good.” But while it is a solemn day, Good Friday is not the “funeral Jesus never had.” Christians see the cross as a sign of triumph—God’s victory over death.
In that spirit, we pray the Bidding Prayer on this night, an ancient prayer that commends everyone and everything we can think of to the loving arms of Jesus. The night concludes as a simple, wooden cross is brought into the sanctuary, and each worshiper is invited to come forward and “pay their respects,” so to speak: to bow before it, touch it, kneel or sit near it for a while, or lay down some symbol of life’s burdens at its feet.
The Great Vigil of Easter
Saturday, April 8 | 6:00pm
We begin outside to light the new fire, proclaiming to the world that Christ is our light in the darkness. We bless the new Easter Candle and process into the church where we hear the great stories of salvation retold by candlelight using music and drama. We will re-affirm our own baptismal promises to live as God's people in the world. Finally, the lights come on, bells ring, and we share in the "feast of victory of our God" in Holy Communion.
The Resurrection of Our Lord
Sunday, April 9
9:00 AM | Easter Breakfast
9:45 AM | Easter Egg Hunt
10:30 AM | Festival Eucharist
Death is never the end of the story for God’s people. On this festival day we marvel in the wonder that Christ is risen from the dead! We hear the astonishing story of the empty tomb, breathe in the fragrance of the Easter lilies, sing some of our favorite hymns, let the “alleluias” fly, and share in the “feast of victory for our God” in Holy Communion.
The Easter Breakfast is a longtime FLC tradition. Breakfast takes place between services in the Firesside Room and usually spreads out into the hallway space.