Lent 2019: With All Your Heart
In this season of formation and preparation, we again approach the forty days of Lent from a variety of different perspectives and points along the Christian journey. During this season, new and longtime Christians alike hear the call to return to God with all their hearts, thus entering a season historically characterized by much prayer and fasting. These works of discipline have for hundreds of years served as a means by which new converts prepare for baptism, which occurs as a part of the Easter Vigil. Using the words of Wesleyan theology, we believe all this work is initiated by God, who invites us to come before God with all our hearts.
Because of the duration of the season, this series mirrors Advent in both length and the number of Scriptures chosen this year. With the exception of Palm/Passion Sunday and Easter Day, we have selected the Old Testament and Epistle readings. These passages work hand-in-hand to clearly articulate the distinct pathway that begins with God’s call (Ash Wednesday and Lent 1) and continues through the process of our own repentance (Lent 2 and 3), reconciliation with God and one another (Lent 4 and 5), and preparation to publicly proclaim our belief in the risen Christ (Palm/Passion and Easter). Every year, then, this season becomes a place for us to revisit and renew our beginnings along the Christian journey of salvation.
When approaching Palm/Passion Sunday and Easter Day, we have presented more readings, understanding that across the church, the proclamation of the gospel narratives that tell the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, passion, and resurrection are vital to worship and discipleship. The incorporation of Easter Day into this series creates a departure from the form of previous years of resourcing. You will notice that Easter Day serves as a hinge point between the seasons of Lent and Easter, and the Scriptures and resources for that day connect both seasons as formation and doctrine come together in one narrative stream.
May your Lenten season be one of challenge, commitment, and support as the church responds to the call of God– “Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12).
*All scripture quotations are NRSV.