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Lent 2019

Wednesday Schedule: 
·   Morning Devotion 8 am
·   Afternoon Service 3:45 pm
·   Meals Served 4:30-6:00 pm
·   Service of Evening Prayer 6:30 pm

March 6th - Ash Wednesday “From Dust to Dust”
Ash Wednesday is distinct from the other five midweek Lenten Services. We begin the season of Lent with a somber service of confession and absolution, the Word, and the Lord’s Supper. We come with “Lord, have mercy” on our lips and we leave in the forgiveness and peace that is ours in Christ alone.
·   Burger Bar served by the Booster Club. Monies given will go towards future athletic needs in the school. (Contact Sara Schreiber)

 March 13thMidweek II “Love One AnotherJohn 13:31-35
·   A hot dog, beans, salad, and chips meal will be served by school volunteers. Monies given will go towards St. John’s Tuition Assistance Fund. (Contact Pastor Bortulin)
March 20th—Midweek III “Watch and PrayMatthew 26:35-41
·   Baked mostaccioli served by the 7th-8th Grade Parents. Monies given will go towards class trip. (Contact Sara Schreiber)
March 27th—Midweek IV “I Am He” John 18:3-9
·   No Meal this week due to Spring Break
April 3rd—Midweek V “What is Truth” John 18:33-40
·   Meal served by the Evangelism Committee. Monies given will go towards new chairs for the tables in the narthex (Contact Jeff Bodendorfer)
April 10th—Midweek VI “Take Him Away” John 19:14-18
·   Meal TBD
In the church, Lent has traditionally involved three customs: 1) Almsgiving (gifts for the poor); 2) Times for fasting (This is where the tradition of “giving something up for Lent” stems from); and 3) Increased time for prayer and meditation. This year—in order to give more time for prayer and meditation, please note the following:
·   During the season of lent, the sanctuary will be open from 7:30-8:15 Monday-Friday for anyone would like to come for their own personal prayers.
·   On the six Lenten Wednesdays at 8 am, one of the pastors will lead a ten-minute service involving a hymn, a prayer, a psalm, and a short devotion. Our prayer is that making this quiet time available in God’s house will be a benefit for those who are looking for a quiet place for prayer and meditation.
Why Lent?
The time of year we Christians call “Lent” is a 40 day period of time (not including Sundays) which extends from Ash Wednesday until Easter Saturday.  Lent is a time of reflection and repentance.  While the joy of faith remains undiminished throughout the year, our rejoicing during Lent is muted and quiet.  We remember our great need for a Savior and the awesome price Jesus paid for our sins.  Our salvation is free, but it was not cheap; it cost our God the life of his holy Son.  Sometimes the service, and especially the music that we sing during this season, sounds somewhat minor, or eerie.  This is a reflection of the season we are in. 
Lent is ours. Lent remains one season that the world doesn’t give a hoot about. What I mean is this: secular songs have not intruded. Cartoons and TV specials do not change the reason for the season. There is not rush to buy gifts for Lent, no Lenten Bunny, no parties to go to. Lent is quiet time. Lent is a time to take an extra forty-five minutes a week to ponder the mystery of the cross. Lent is a time for repentance, renewal, and meditation. Lent is a time to listen to his suffering and death, to see his willful endurance of cross and pain, to be refreshed by the forgiveness which he won—for us.
Some people choose to show the penitential mood of Lent in an outward way.  You may know someone who takes time for fasting or gives something up during this time.  As a congregation we have said “farewell” to the use of the word “Alleluia” until our alleluias burst forth again on Easter morning.
Lent at St. John’s
ASH WEDNESDAY--Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Season of Lent, is a day for personal confession.  In the history of the Christian church the mood of the day was severe: no organ music was played, the chancel was covered in black, and the people knelt to confess their sins.  In imitation of the Old Testament practice of wearing sackcloth and ashes as a sign of repentance, many Christians then and today participate in the rite for the Imposition of Ashes.  In this rite ashes mixed with oil are used to make a cross on the person’s head – hence the name for the day, Ash Wednesday.  Although we do not observe the imposition of ashes at St. John’s in our evening services, it is included during the school day chapel, and we still meet for worship which includes a special order of confession and absolution.

MIDWEEK LENTEN SERVICES--The Lutheran Church has maintained the Lenten season as a time for prayer and meditation on the priorities of the Christian faith.  Most Lutheran churches hold services during the middle of each of the six weeks of Lent (Ash Wednesday and the five following Wednesdays).  During these services the focus is on the events that led to Jesus’ death and burial.  For this reason, Lutherans often refer to Lent as the Passion Season.  With quiet awe we remember the agony our Savior endured as he made us right with God by his perfect life and innocent sufferings and death. 

HOLY WEEK--Holy Week begins with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  On Monday of this week he cleansed the temple of people who were misusing it as a marketplace.  Tuesday was Jesus’ final day of teaching at the Temple.  The Gospels remain silent on Jesus activities on Wednesday.  But on Maundy Thursday Jesus and his disciples had the final Passover meal; this night he instituted a new sacrament, Holy Communion.  Later on Thursday evening Jesus was arrested.  On Good Friday morning Jesus was on trial before the Jews and Romans.  In the afternoon he was crucified for us and for our salvation.  Saturday he rested and that brings us to Easter Sunday!
This is the conclusion of Luther’s Good Friday sermon of 1533 based on John 19:13-30:
“He has shown us great kindness and we should never forget it, but always thank him and find comfort for ourselves, confessing, His pain is my comfort; his wounds, my healing; his punishment, my redemption; his death, my life. No one can preach sufficiently; no one can be sufficiently amazed that so great a person came from heaven, stepped into our place, and suffered death for us. We have been visited graciously and redeemed with a great price. When in this life we experience harsh mistreatment and evil, we can usually trace it to our unthankful living…
...For when people despise God’s wonderful and eternal comfort, love, and help, as they indulge their wantonness, they get what they deserve as they go headlong on their way. Therefore, we should hold firmly to our Savior and sacred Head, Jesus Christ, who for our sins was crucified and died. To this end may the gracious God help us. Amen.            --Sermons of Martin Luther Vol. I pp. 474-475

For it is by his grace that we have been saved through faith, and this faith was not from you, but it is the gift of God. ~ Ephesians 2:8