Exploring Lent at ABC
by Glenn R. Molina, Director of Worship Arts
What comes to your mind when you hear terms such as “Lent” or “Ash Wednesday”? Your response would certainly be shaped by your past spiritual experiences—or inexperience—with these annual events. Some of us who previously worshiped in a “high church” tradition (Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, etc.) might remember ashes on the forehead, fasting and prayer, or abstaining from something such as meat or smoking. Others, including many of us who have been life-long practicing Baptists, have had little or no experience with Lent-related practices.
Traditionally, Lent has functioned within the church as a time of preparation for believers, helping them to meditate upon the crucifixion and resurrection for a forty day period, culminating during Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The symbolism of “forty days” is related to the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness, fasting and praying before he entered into public ministry. Over the centuries, Christians have developed various disciplines to help them focus during the period of Lent, including fasting and prayer, as well as other forms of abstinence and self-denial.
In recent years, we have gently explored the season of Lent at ABC, making an effort to more intentionally prepare for Easter in the weeks preceding it. This year, we have chosen to work more methodically through this Lenten period, but in ways that are geared to address the needs and spiritual journeys within our own congregation. Our expression of Lent in the coming weeks won’t necessarily look like the way Lent is practiced in other churches; we will seek to find unique ways to examine the challenges of living our lives for Christ in a world filled with distractions and temptations. We will consider the cost of committing and devoting ourselves to Christ, remembering along the way the cost that Christ himself paid for us through his own death. For the next six Sundays, our pastors will be preaching on Scriptures concerning Jesus’ final days as he approached the reality of the cross. The other elements of our worship services will supplement the content of the sermons, and will also focus on various disciplines that we are called as Christians to practice daily, not simply during the season of Lent. These disciplines include such themes as confession, sacrifice, humility and compassion, forgiveness, perseverance, and faithfulness.
We invite you to join us on Wednesday, February 22, at 7:00 PM, for an evening of worship and reflection, as we officially enter into Lent as a community. We also invite you to join us for each of the six Sundays in Lent, beginning February 26, as we embark together on this journey towards and beyond the cross. They will be unlike other Lenten services you may or may not have attended, but it will be true to who we are as the Altadena Baptist Church family of believers. We hope that this season will serve to be a spiritually enriching opportunity for our church community, both individually and corporately.