What is Lent? What do we do during Lent as United Methodists?
Lent started in the 4th century. Both people who had not been church members and those that had gone away from the church would spent the 40 days of Lent in self-examination and prayer and fasting getting ready for Easter. Those that had not been members were baptized on Easter and those who had been members were reintroduced to the church.
March 2 we will have an Ash Wednesday service at the Baraboo United Methodist Church at 6pm. The Palms that were waved so boldly the year before have become dry and brittle. They are burned and we use them for Ash Wednesday to put a cross on our forehead or back of our hand. Ashes symbolize our humility before God and our recognition that we are mortal. If you count the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter there are really 46 days. Since Sundays are a ‘little’ Easter, they don’t count in the 40 days. The ashes tell us of our humanity and lead us into a time of self-reflection. We admit we are human and are not perfect and that we all fall short but also give us hope of what we can be.
Many times people will say “What are you giving up for Lent?” In some ways Lent is house cleaning. What in our life is cluttering up the space we need to have to meet God and work on have a working relationship. The main purpose of “giving up” things in Lent is to give us time to bring ourselves closer to God; to prioritize God; to put God in the center of our minds and lives; to make God the focal point. If you choose to give something up for Lent, ask yourself “How does this bring me closer to God?” We are offering ways to participate and to use your time in reflection and prayer.
We have some different ways to offer people a Lenten path.
- Rethink church has a list of words for Lent 2022 that can inform your seeing God in the world. Join our church and other United Methodist churches in the Photo-a-day challenge for Lent. This is not about being a great photographer. It is about developing a way of seeing. Share how you perceive each word with a photo shared to your Facebook or Instagram account. Each day use the hashtags #rethinkchurch #photoadaychallenge #fumcbaraboo in your post. You can tag from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or TikTok. The word will be posted each morning on all 4 platforms. Go to https://www.umc.org/en/content/lent-photo-a-day-2022 and you can download all the words.
- It has been said that starting off the day thinking of 3 things that you are grateful for can make a world of difference not only in that day but in your life. The Mission committee has selected Children’s Ministry for the money collected through the Lenten offering of Links of Love for Lent. This money will benefit children in our church and in our community. Each day you can go on a scavenger hunt in your home to find things that are on a link. You can count them and multiply them by ‘a coin’ and note the amount on the chart. You can find the full link and instructions on the church’s website. Each day you can put your total in a chart using whatever coins you wish to multiply and total it up and bring it in on Easter. Each link you can color and then tape or staple the links together and bring a week’s worth of links to church each Sunday. All of our links will be linked together and we can see the love growing each week through Lent in our church. On Easter you can add up your totals and bring your offering to church or send it in to the office. The Mission committee is establishing a Children’s Mission Fund that will care for a variety of mission ministry involving children. Make your check payable to the First United Methodist Church and put in the memo “Lenten Offering. Each day the item you are searching for will also be listed on our church’s Facebook or Instagram accounts.
- In the Sanctuary, you will find 2 crosses up front during Lent. They are made from the Christmas trees we had during Advent and Christmas. We need to connect the babe in Bethlehem with the Jesus on the Cross of Good Friday and the resurrection of Easter. Each week there will be a symbol that will have a scripture which will be the sermon topic as well as the topic for the Bible Study on Wednesday night at 6pm at church (masks and social distanced). These will also be the focus of Children’s time. 1.CHERISH 2. SERVE 3. REMEMBER 4. LIGHT 5. REFLECT 6. PRAISE 7. CELEBRATE
- There will be other services. April 14 the Maundy Thursday. April 15 is the Good Friday service which will be a community service at the First Presbyterian church. We will join them and the First Congregation UCC church for worship. Easter is April 17th. More about that service will come later.
Many of the things we shared before were designed for our church building being closed for Covid. As the Covid numbers are going down, we are now opening up our church to the community and for worship. Changes have been made to the plans.