WHAT IS LENT?
For centuries, Christians from many traditions have observed the season of Lent, modeled after Jesus’ 40-day fast in the wilderness. Lent is a time of repentance and rediscovery of God’s grace.
Lent is an opportunity for both personal and communal
renewal and growth. Individual believers are encouraged to withdraw into the
wilderness with Jesus by taking on a temporary limitation and adding spiritual
practices to foster a deeper communion with God. It is a chance to take stock
of your spiritual condition in light of the gospel and to seek a greater
influence of the Holy Spirit. Corporately, it is a time of preparation for
remembering Christ’s suffering and death during Holy Week and celebrating his
victorious resurrection at Easter.
WHEN IS LENT?
Our observation of the 2023 Lent season begins on Ash Wednesday, February 22 and ends on Easter Sunday morning, April 9.
HOW WILL WE OBSERVE LENT AT CHATHAM?
‣ Wednesday Fasting / Lenten Meal & Prayer Nights
Fasting is encouraged during Lent, and this year we encourage observing especially Wednesdays as fast days.
Each Wednesday during Lent, we'll meet in the Activity Center starting at 5:30 p.m. to break our Wednesday fast together with a simple meal. Then at 6:15 p.m. we'll move to the Worship Center for a time of prayer and worship to the Lord. Both Youth Group and Family Connection will begin their meetings by joining in this time of prayer.
‣ Pray for the Lou Day
On Saturday morning, March 11, Chatham will participate in Pray for the Lou Day, a regional prayer event with opportunities to join in prayer with other St. Louis area churches and believers. This will include a prayer walk in the morning and an outdoor prayer gathering that afternoon. See details on our Pray for the Lou page.
‣ Adult Sunday School
During our regular Sunday School time at 9 a.m., we will work together on
developing and maintaining a Rule of Life, which is a set of
commitments and habits designed to keep God intentionally integrated into our
days, weeks and years. We'll consider how various personal and communal
disciplines can bring order and purpose into our hectic and distracted
‣ Sunday Sermon Series
During our Lenten sermon series,"The Servant Songs of Isaiah," we'll look at the four poems in the book of Isaiah, each describing the person of Jesus Christ, the Servant of the Lord promised to bring redemption to the world.
‣ Holy Week
Our Holy Week services will include Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
- Ash Wednesday, February 22 - Lenten Meal & Prayer, 5:30 p.m.
- Sunday, February 26 - Sunday School, 9 a.m. / Worship, 10:30 a.m.
- Wednesday, March 1 - Lenten Prayer Night, 6:15 p.m.
- Sunday, March 5 - Sunday School, 9 a.m. / Worship, 10:30 a.m.
- Wednesday, March 8 - Lenten Prayer Night, 6:15 p.m.
- Saturday, March 11 - Pray for the Lou Prayer Walk, 9:45 a.m.
- Sunday, March 12 - Sunday School, 9 a.m. / Worship, 10:30 a.m.
- Wednesday, March 15 - Lenten Meal & Prayer, 5:30 p.m.
- Sunday, March 19 - Sunday School, 9 a.m. / Worship, 10:30 a.m.
- Wednesday, March 22 - Lenten Meal & Prayer, 5:30 p.m.
- Sunday, March 26 - Sunday School, 9 a.m. / Worship, 10:30 a.m.
- Wednesday, March 29 - Lenten Meal & Prayer, 5:30 p.m.
HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE
- Palm Sunday, April 2 - Sunday School, 9 a.m. / Worship, 10:30 a.m.
- Good Friday, April 7 - Worship, 7 p.m.
- Easter Sunday, April 9 - Worship, 10:30 a.m.
WHAT SHOULD I DO DURING LENT?
It is critical to keep in mind that the point of Lent is not to observe rituals or take part in programs. The goal is to pursue a deeper relationship with God. The main question is: What will help you get closer to the Lord? Consider the following three areas:
‣ Give up. Commit to the biblical discipline of fasting. In its most basic and common form, fasting is total abstinence from food. Fasting should never become a means of manipulating God into giving us what we want, like a hunger strike. Instead, it is an expression of our humility and dependence on God. If your health allows, consider fasting every Wednesday during Lent (intentionally skipping one, two or all three meals that day). Remember to stay hydrated. You can also do a partial fast by giving up certain things that exert an influence over us or seem particularly important. Consider fasting from TV, social media, video games, or other forms of entertainment; coffee, soda, or other stimulants; meat or sweets; alcohol; sex; sleep. Partial fasts sharpen our spiritual appetite and make us more aware of God’s presence and power.
‣ Give in. Commit
to additional spiritual disciplines. You can do something with your family or
as a small group, or participate in Friday night prayer meetings at church. You
can follow a daily Lenten devotional; increase your Bible reading time; add
confession, singing, intercession, or some other kind of prayer to your regular
time with God; or go on prayer walks. Consider focusing on a particular area of
growth like humility or gracious speech.
‣ Give away. Commit
to generous giving of your money, time, and energy for the benefit of others.
Consider giving financially to missions, benevolence, someone in need, or the
church. Look for opportunities to serve someone by giving them your time or
using your skills for their good. We'll have another opportunity this season to support students in need at Armstrong Elementary.
Additionally, to help us remember that our sacrifices and disciplines are a response to Christ’s finished work on our behalf, use Sundays as feast days to relax your Lenten commitments.
WHAT RESOURCES CAN I USE?
‣ This year, we will use our new devotional "Meditations In the Book of Isaiah" as we read through this book together as a church this Lenten season.
‣ Aaron Damiani, The Good of Giving Up: Discovering the Freedom of Lent (Chicago: Moody, 2017)
‣ John Piper, A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer (Wheaton: Crossway, 1997). Free download at desiringgod.org/books/a-hunger-for-god
On Media Fasting:
‣ Sarah Gregor, Going Dark for More of His Light: Prepping for a 40 Day Social Media Fast article, miniministry.com
Additional Devotional Options:
‣ Gospel in Life, a ministry of Tim Keller, offers a free 40-Day devotional by e-mail for which you can sign up here.
‣ Nancy Guthrie, ed. Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross: Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter (Wheaton: Crossway, 2009)
‣ Henri Nouwen, Show Me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings (New York: Crossroad, 1992)
‣ John Piper's Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die is available to download as a free e-book or for purchase in multiple formats.
‣ Paul Tripp, Journey to the Cross: A 40-Day Lenten Devotional (Wheaton: Crossway, 2021)