Lent is a time when we focus on deepening our faith through prayer and worship beginning with Ash Wednesday on March 1 at 7:00 p.m.
Following Ash Wednesday and throughout Lent, services are held each Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. and include prayer, music, Holy Communion and brief presentations from members of Calvary.
A complete schedule for Calvary’s Lent and Holy Week services can be found at the following link:
The History and Traditions of Lent
The season of Lent leads up to the most holy of Christian days, Easter Sunday. The forty days of Lent begin with Ash Wednesday and end at dusk the Saturday before Easter, not counting the Sundays in between. The Sundays during Lent, like every Sunday, are considered weekly celebrations of the resurrection.
Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent provide time to explore the mystery at the heart of the gospel that being a Christian means a new life through Christ.
This preparation is a historical model from the early church. New believers were mentored in the Christian faith weeks before Easter, preparing for their baptisms at the Great Easter Vigil.
You may find it meaningful to give something up for Lent, but it is not required. The idea of giving something up for Lent came out of this tradition, when fasting—abstaining from food as an act of discipline in solidarity with others in the community—was used to raise one’s spiritual consciousness and empty oneself before God. Fasting or giving up something for Lent can be a good way to explore a deeper expression of faith and love of God.
You may find a more valuable spiritual exercise in taking something on during Lent—a more Christ-like attitude toward others, a humble spirit at work, or a feeling of gratitude in the midst of scarcity.
Whatever spiritual disciplines and preparations are embraced during Lent, they can help us prepare for the resurrection celebration at Easter.
Reclaimed by Reformed churches in the last few decades, Ash Wednesday is the entry point for Lenten preparation. It is a service rich in ritual and symbolism. Palms waved at the previous year’s Palm Sunday service are saved and burned to create ashes for the next Ash Wednesday.
Participants on Ash Wednesday come forward for a minister or elder to mark their foreheads with the sign of the cross in ashes, saying the words, “You are dust, and to dust you shall return,” from Genesis 3:19. With these words, disciples are reminded of their mortality and, when combined with the sign of the cross, they are also reminded of the hope of the resurrection.
Christians do not receive the sign of the cross to attract attention or to be noticed by others; they receive the sign of the cross to focus on who they are as human beings, bound in death and life to Christ.
The description above is adapted from the Presbyterian Mission Agency – Lent 101