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The Season of Lent

By John Franke, Theologian in Residence

Lent is the season in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts forty days in commemoration of the length of time, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John, that Jesus spent fasting in the desert and enduring the temptations of Satan before the beginning of his public ministry.

Some Christians will fast during Lent or give up something in order to express solidarity with Jesus, while others will adopt particular spiritual practices during the season to try and draw closer to God. All of this is done in preparation for Holy Week and the observance of Jesus’ passion as he goes to the cross, as well as the triumph of Easter and the resurrection.

In all of this, the church expresses its commitment to Jesus as the Word of God in human form, who forgives the sins of the world and shows us the way to live our lives. Because Jesus is the living truth, who has called us to follow him, we have the audacity to continue to insist that some things are true for everyone regardless of their social and cultural location:

  • that all human beings are created in the image of God and are therefore to be treated with dignity and respect no matter their circumstances or shortcomings;
  • that God is particularly concerned with the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed and that their liberation from these circumstances should be a priority in human affairs; and
  • that God loves all people and none are beyond redemption.

Such commitments are aspects of Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom of God, a community where everyone has enough, and no one needs to be afraid. The self-denial, temptations and sufferings we remember during Lent and Holy Week remind us of the cost of seeking to establish such a community in the world. It will not come easy, it will make demands on us, and it will be costly.

The joy of Easter morning and the resurrection reminds us that the price is worth paying. Living self-sacrificially for the sake of a better world is consistent with God’s intentions for creation and will produce a wonderful harvest in the form if a more just, equitable and peaceful world.

In this season of Lent, let us commit ourselves again to following Jesus. To share with him the way of self-giving and self-sacrifice for the sake of others. To forgive others as we have been forgiven. And to look forward with confidence to that day when, having shared in the fellowship of his suffering love for the world, we will share in the fellowship of his glorious resurrection.  

Go to Lent Home Page


The Season of Lent
Letter from Lewis

The Season of Lent

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
Dear Friends:

As the cold of winter begins to loosen its grip on us and the days begin to lengthen, we long for the coming of spring. The first snows of winter may be beautiful, but the impact of ice and lingering cold brings real hardship to people who do not have many resources to insulate themselves from the winter weather. We may spend much of our time in warm homes, schools, businesses and cars, but we are all affected by the change in the seasons.

The seasons not only bring different physical challenges, but the seasons also bring memories that conjure up a wide variety of emotions. We may have special memories of swimming on summer vacations, raking leaves in the fall, spending time with family around a winter fire or planting flowers in the spring. There are also seasons in our lives from birth to childhood, from youth to young adulthood, and from adulthood to death.

The church speaks of the seasons of the church year. These seasons – Advent, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Pentecost – are given to us to provide a kind of frame around the many emotions and events of our life before God. The seasons of the church year help us understand and interpret our experiences of hope, longing, joy, fulfillment, repentance, death, resurrection and divine presence. We grow spiritually and emotionally when we begin to see the adventures, encounters, trials, dreams and challenges of our lives in light of God’s unfolding story revealed in the seasons of the church year. Soon we will enter the season of Lent, which is given to us as a time of spiritual reflection and repentance before the dawn of Easter.

There are also seasons in the life of the church. I have had the joyful privilege of being your Pastor for these past 14 years. I can think of no greater honor or privilege than fulfilling this call that you entrusted to me so many seasons ago. As we hear in Ecclesiastes, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” This is the time for our congregation to enter a new season of life with new pastoral leadership. I am grateful for the past we have shared together; I am full of hope for the future before us. I trust in the wonderful plans that God has for Second Church as we enter this new season of life. 

Yours in Christ,
Lewis F. Galloway, Senior Pastor



Lenten Concert
Sunday, March 4

Lenten Concert
Mass in C, op. 86, by Ludwig van Beethoven


Sanctuary Choir and Festival Orchestra
Michelle L. Louer, Director of Music and Fine Arts
Alejandra Martinez, soprano
Mitzi Westra, mezzo-soprano
David Smolokoff, tenor Zachary Coates, bass
   Joseph Flummerfelt, guest conductor

Musical America's 2004 Conductor of the Year, Joseph Flummerfelt's artistry has been heard in many of the world's concert halls for over 40 years. He is founder and musical director of the New York Choral Artists, and for 33 years was conductor of the world-renowned Westminster Choir. In 2016, he retired from 44 years of choral preparation for the New York Philharmonic. Joe is the brother of Sanctuary Choir member, Carol Helmling. The mass forms the basis of the reformed service of worship.

Palm Sunday
March 25

Palm/Passion Sunday Worship

Parade of Palms


Join the children of the church in a festive parade of palms at the end of the 9:30 and the beginning of the 11 a.m. services. A live donkey leads the children through the sanctuary as they wave their palms and proclaim, “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna,” along with the singing congregation. 

The 8:15 a.m. traditional service, the 10:35 a.m. Wholeness and Holy Communion service and the casual evening services at 5 & 6 p.m. meet at their normal times.  

Maundy Thursday
March 29

Maundy Thursday

Tenebrae Communion Service


At this service of shadows, we share the Last Supper and hear the story of the last hours of the life of Jesus. The service ends in darkness.

Maundy Thursday begins the Three Days (or Triduum), remembering the new commandment that Christ gave us in word and deed as he taught us how to love one another, washing our feet as a servant. We also celebrate the Lord’s Supper, remembering the meal Christ shared with his disciples before his death.

Historically, this was the traditional day in which those who had undergone a period of public penance under church discipline would be restored to full communion.

Good Friday
March 30

Good Friday

Seven Last Words of Christ


Meditations will be held in the chapel on the Seven Last Words of Christ. Please feel free to come and go as you are able. This service features hymns, vocal and instrumental music interpreting each word.

Good Friday is the day we remember Jesus’ crucifixion. The hours of noon to 3 p.m. are particularly significant as these commemorate the time Jesus hung on the cross. It is an especially important time to pray for the church and the world for whom Christ gave his life.

Easter Sunday
The Resurrection of Jesus

Easter Sunday

April 1

The festival of the Resurrection of the Lord (or Easter Sunday) is the center of the Christian year. On this occasion the church joyfully proclaims the good news that is at the very heart of the gospel: that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.

Morning worship services: 8, 9:30 and 11:15 a.m.

Sanctuary Music at these services will feature special music with Sanctuary Choir, Festival Brass, organ and percussion. Prelude begins 20 minutes prior to each service.

Evening worship services: 5 & 6 p.m.

Families@Five, for families with young children is in the Chapel, and the
Second@Six Communion Service is in the Sanctuary.

Sharing Holy Highs and Lows
Lent for Children & Families

Lent for Children & Families
Sharing Holy Highs and Lows with Children

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him. For he knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust.  Psalm 103:11-14

by Rev. Caroline Dennis
The season of Lent begins with the somber service of Ash Wednesday, continues through 40 days of prayer and fasting, and culminates in a week of dramatic highs and lows for Jesus and his disciples. At the beginning of the week, we call, “Holy,” we gather like the curious crowds in Jerusalem, along the path with palms waving to welcome a most unusual King. We wonder if we dare stand close as Jesus turns tables in the Temple, breaks bread with his disciples, kneels and washes dirty feet, prays fervently, submits to the humiliation of trial and taunt, and ultimately gives up his life for sinners to his right and left. For three days, Jesus is sealed in the tomb and we think about what life is like without him: without his words of love and truth, without his healing touch, without his generous offerings of food for our bodies and living water for our souls. Come Sunday, we return to the place where he was laid, only to find that he is not there, to remember the amazing truth: He is Alive!

How much of this central story of our faith do we share with our children? Are we tempted to reserve Lent for grownups, skip right from our donkey-led palm procession right to the bright skies of Easter morning? What will they understand of these harder things? What uncomfortable questions will they raise?

At church, we walk together through this season of prayer and fasting, and pack Holy Week full of opportunities to remember, or to learn, our salvation story. We hope you and your children will share these days with us, for we believe, that Easter joy shines brightest against the dark hours that preceded it. We hope these church experiences will spark rich conversations at home as your family grows in faith through these holy days ahead.
What is Ash Wednesday?
At the beginning of the season of Lent, we remember that we are human and mortal. We remember, too, that our life depends on God. A good way to talk about this with children is to read about the creation of Adam starting at Genesis 2:4. In this creation story, we learn that the earth is dust, until God causes a stream to rise up from the earth, making... MUD! What could be better than that?

Then, our creator God reaches down into the mud and forms a human. But the human does not have life until God
breaths into it. Without the breath (Spirit) of God, we are dust. 
At church, all are invited to join Christian Educator Kat Barden for a family meal and conversation about Ash Wednesday, Lent and Holy Week prior to the Ash Wednesday service. This time together will equip us for our shared worship time and walk through Lent.

What is Lent?
Lent is 40 days of prayer and fasting. It is a time of turning back toward God or repenting. It is a time to prepare ourselves for the holy drama of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. It is a time to live close to God, as Jesus did.

Your family might decide to use this time to take on a practice of daily scripture reading and family prayers. Many people give up something for Lent (fasting) as way of putting God first or remembering that all we have comes from God. Other people take on a new discipline or benevolent activity as a way of sharing God’s love with others.
In the Bible and in Christian practice, 40 days (or years, as was the case for the Hebrew people in the wilderness) is a time for spiritual transformation. How will you and your family be different at the end of this 40 days?
Here at church, one family practice for Lent would be to participate in the Winter(Mission) Olympics.

What happens on Palm Sunday?
This is the day we remember Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. Greeting the hope of their salvation with waving palms and lining his path with their coats, the gathered crowd raises shouts of “Hosanna!”

Here at church, the children get to meet one of Jesus’ disciples, who will tell them the story of the day Jesus sent her to collect the donkey. The children will get to pet the donkey and then follow the donkey through the sanctuary, waving palms as the congregation sings, “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna, the little children sang...”. Like those gathered along the road so long ago, our hope is high that Jesus, a humble king on a donkey, has come to bring a reign of peace.

But then...
The story gets harder to tell. Dr. Elizabeth Windsor, in an article shared through Building Faith, the Christian education website of Virginia Theological Seminary, gives some helpful advice to parents and church school teachers as we tell the hard story of the crucifixion:
  • Children understand tragedy
    Children – even very young ones – know that bad things happen. The Easter message is that good always triumphs over evil – even if it doesn’t seem to at the moment. This is a message children can hear and understand.
  • Emphasize the full Christ-event
    When you talk about the crucifixion, always continue immediately with the Resurrection. I have found the following kinds of language helpful: “Jesus loved people so much that some people were scared by it and they put Jesus to death on a cross. But love is so strong, that not even death can destroy it, so God raised Jesus from the dead.”
  • Be conscientious with images
    If the children you work with are visual learners, you may only want to share the story in words – the shorter the better. Use art that reveals the empty tomb instead of Jesus on the Cross as you tell the story.
  • Basic details of the cross
    Some children are curious about how crucifixion actually kills. They will ask questions such as “Did it hurt?” (“Yes”), “How does crucifixion kill someone?” (“Slow suffocation”). You do not need to dwell on the gore, but an honest answer that is short and to the point is helpful to children and allows you to move on to the resurrection.
  • Jesus did not die alone
    Other children worry that Jesus was alone. He wasn’t – his mother and the Beloved Disciple were there, along with other women. Two other men were crucified with him. And most importantly, God was with Jesus.

At our church, in the picture Bibles we give the children, the cross is dark and distant but the dawn of Easter morning fills the page with light. The dark page gives families a space to open up hard conversations, not only about Jesus’ death, but about other sad experiences a child might have. The bright page keeps the promised truth of life before us. Sunday School and Families@Five worship during Lent, Holy Week and Easter will give children a good age-appropriate, hands-on experience of these stories that they can discuss with trusted adults at home. Children who have participated in our Communion and Worship Education classes will be ready to come with you to special services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

Easter: He IS Alive!
Children who have experienced the long days of Lent and the drama of Holy Week, wake up on Easter morning eager to smell the lilies, hear the brass proclamations, peek into the empty tomb (look for it on the second floor) and proclaim the promised Good News: He is Alive! Spring is a great time for us to look for all the signs of new life we know in Jesus! Every day is a good day to see how Jesus lives in our hearts and works through our hands.

At our church, on Easter morning, elementary age children worship with their families. Preschool age children enjoy special Sunday School activities.

Families@Five in Lent 2018
Sundays, 5:00 p.m.

Families@Five in Lent

I Am...

Making new friends is so much fun. Usually it starts with introductions. “I am….” followed by a name.

And then there is more. I AM five. I AM smart. I AM funny. I AM a soccer player. I AM going to be….

During Lent at Families@Five, we will deepen our friendships with one another and with Jesus as we listen to Jesus
tell his friends...

February 18 – I AM Jesus
February 25 – I AM the Bread of Life
March 4 – I AM the Gate
March 11 – I AM the Good Shepherd
March 18 – I AM the Resurrection
March 25 – Palm Sunday: I AM the Vine
April 1 – EASTER: I AM the Way, the Truth and the Lif