Lenten Worship: Why?
At the end of Maundy Thursday worship, the altar is stripped bare, just as our Lord was stripped for crucifixion. That dramatic moment is the key to understanding the worship changes in Lent.
Bit by bit, the Church is stripped of its Easter worship. It begins when we give up the “alleluia” at the end of Transfiguration. That joyful song is stripped from our tongues as we turn from the resurrection to the cross.
Then, gradually, more and more is taken from us. We forego the Gloria (Hymn of Praise: “Glory to God in the highest . . . .”) at weekly worship. In our homes, we fast and eat more simply, supported by the soup suppers on Wednesdays. We pray and repent more, stripped of both our cares and our sins as we place them into the hands of God.
Starting the Fifth Sunday in Lent, it all starts to intensify. The Gloria Patri (“Glory be to the Father and to the Son . . .”), typically sung at the end of psalms, disappears. Images are veiled. And then, finally, the altar itself is stripped, and on Good Friday, no Holy Communion is celebrated.
It all intends to lead us more deeply into the sacrifice of Christ, who was stripped of honor and life that we might be clothed with Him. It is a royal sacrifice, and for this reason, too, the color of Lent is red-violet, the color of kings, as well as the bloodshed, welts, and bruises our King endured for us.
Lenten Midweek Series
Every Wednesday (Feb. 22-Mar. 29)
Holy Communion, 12:15 PM
Vespers, 6:30 PM
Theme: Take Heart: Overcoming A World of Loss
What have you lost? It seems we’re always losing something: time, money, relationships, loved ones, dreams, and even ourselves. In many ways, loss sets the conditions of human life. Does God have anything to say to such a world of loss?
Feb. 22: Losing Our Selves: Overcoming Sin
March 1: Losing Relationships: Overcoming Separation
March 8: Losing Loved Ones: Overcoming Death
March 15: Losing Dreams: Overcoming Disappointment
March 22: Losing Our Grip: Overcoming Need
March 29: Losing Faith: Overcoming Doubt