Resources for Lent
Below you’ll find a few resources to help you draw closer to God in the season of Lent.
Special Holy Week Offerings
Spiritual Growth Ministry has complied some wonderful virtual resources to aid in your experience of Holy Week.
Stations of the Cross
These special Stations of the Cross were originally painted by Melanie Twelves. Last year, The Rev. Stacey Duncan-Williams commissioned Reba Balint and Jess Bejot to create digital version of the original paintings. The images are beautiful depictions of Jesus’ final moments. The focus on Native American imagery felt particularly appropriate when considering the impact the COVID pandemic has had on native populations.Each station (on the website) offers a simple scripture reading, mediation, prayer, and benediction.
The Way of the Cross
We also offer the devotion known as the Way of the Cross. It is an adaptation of a custom widely observed by pilgrims to Jerusalem: the offering of prayer at a series of places in that city traditionally associated with our Lord’s passion and death.
Pause for Lent
This devotional book was written by nearly 30 different members and friends of our community. Each day features a scripture reading and simple reflection. This devotional is designed to help you pause from the busyness of daily life and realign yourself with your Creator.
We encourage you to use a digital version of this devotional, but we have a very limited number of physical copies available. They are available for pick up outside the church office.
The Jubilee Project: A Family Lenten Devotional
This devotional book was designed for our families. We offer this resource to inspire conversations about Lent and some major Christian themes like forgiveness, abundance, and grace. While we can’t gather together in person just yet, we hope this devotion will help your family to draw closer to God in this season. There is one reflection for each week of Lent with a bonus one for Holy Week and Easter for a total of eight reflections.
Each week’s reflection also includes a challenge. Each week’s challenge encourages you to set aside a little money, to be pooled by our congregation at Easter and used to forgive debt, via a nonprofit organization called RIP Medical Debt. Together, we will celebrate God’s abounding grace and forgiveness by showing grace and forgiveness to others.
The Ash Wednesday Tradition
For hundreds of years the Church has held services on Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of the season of Lent. Lent grew out of the intense period of preparation for new Christians in the first centuries of the Church. It became a period of fasting, penitence, and other activities which focused on our need for God’s redeeming love in Jesus. This time of repentance, reflection, fasting, and other special religious disciplines begins with the somber Ash Wednesday service which includes the imposition of ashes on the worshippers.Traditionally the ashes are produced by burning palms from the previous Palm Sunday procession. Exactly how this tradition began is unknown, but the dried-out withered leaves may represent the wilting of the enthusiasm expressed on Palm Sunday. Burned to ash, they also represent failed attempts at discipleship, along with our mortality.
The Ash Wednesday service focuses heavily on self-examination and confession. We are called to remember that every one of us has failed to be the person God means us to be, yet God comes offering reconciliation rather than condemnation. In confession,we acknowledge our need for God’s mercy and forgiveness. The imposition of the ashes is the final reminder of our own frailty and need for God’s redemption in Jesus. Ashes are marked on the forehead in the sign of a cross as the one imposing the ashes says, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you will return.”
The period of penitence begun this night lasts for 40 days and ends with Easter, but if you check a calendar you will see that there are 46 days before Easter. That is because the Sundays between now and Easter are not actually part of Lent.
Each Sunday is a celebration of Easter and the resurrection, even in the midst of Lent. But since we have tended to relegate our faith life to Sunday, the practices of Lent have crept more and more into Sunday worship itself.Perhaps this Lent may be the time for you to reclaim some of the traditional practices of the Church. Consider cultivating a discipline which helps you to focus on your relationship with God each day or consider letting go of something that no longer serves your relationship with God.
There are many ways to get involved in the life and ministry here at Falls Church Presbyterian. Whether you are looking to join a ministry team, serve others through our Welcome Table ministry, sing in the choir, or simply find a community to call home, we welcome you and hope that you will find grace, wholeness, and renewal here.