Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. The season is a preparation for celebrating Easter.
Historically, Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by converts and then became a time for penance by all Christians. The First Sunday describes Jesus' temptation by Satan; and the Sixth Sunday (Passion/Palm Sunday), Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his subsequent passion and death.
Note that the readings during Lent, until Passion/Palm Sunday, focus primarily on the meaning of baptism and discipleship, in continuity with the season’s original purpose. Because Sundays are always little Easters, the penitential spirit of Lent should be tempered with joyful expectation of the Resurrection.
Ash Wednesday emphasizes a dual encounter: we confront our own mortality and confess our sin before God within the community of faith as we focus on the dual themes of sin and death in the light of God's redeeming love in Jesus Christ.
The lectionary readings for Ash Wednesday are: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1–17 (UMH 785); 2 Cor 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16–21
Follow this link for reflections by Terry Deane.
1st Sunday in Lent
Lent begins with Jesus going into the wilderness for 40 Days and 40 nights. The picture to the left was taken near the Dead Sea, close to where Jesus was baptized.
The readings for the first Sunday of Lent are: Genesis 2:15–17; 3:1–7; Psalm 32 (UMH 766); Romans 5:12–19; Matthew 4:1–11
Follow this link for reflections by Cindy Briggs-Biondi and Jeff Taylor.
2nd Sunday in Lent
Our gospel lessons begins with:" there was a pharisee named Nicodemus and he was curious about this rabbi..."
The lectionary readings for the 2nd Sunday in Lent are: Genesis 12:1–4a; Psalm 121 (UMH 844); Romans 4:1–5, 13–17; John 3:1–17
Follow this link for reflections by Julia Conley.
3rd Sunday in Lent
Jesus' encounter with a woman at the well is the focus for this Sunday.
The lectionary readings for this Sunday are: Exodus 17:1–7; Psalm 95 (UMH 814); Romans 5:1–11; John 4:5–42
Follow this link for reflections by Mary Thomas.
4th Sunday in Lent
One of the most beloved passages of scripture, Psalm 23, is our psalter lesson. Our gospel lesson begins: "As he was walking along he saw a man who was blind from birth..."
The lectionary readings for the 4th Sunday of Lent are: 1 Samuel 16:1–13; Ps 23 (UMH 754 or 137); Ephesians 5:8–14; John 9:1–41
Follow this link for reflections by Diann Hayes and Dr. Tim Harper
5th Sunday in Lent
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha...
The lectionary readings for the 5th Sunday in Lent are: Ezekiel 37:1–14; Psalm 130 (UMH 848); Romans 8:6–11; John 11:1–45
Follow this link for reflections by Bonnie MacDonald.
Holy Week is the final week of Lent, beginning with Passion/Palm Sunday and concluding with Holy Saturday. It is during these days that the readings focus primarily on the last days and suffering and death of Jesus.
Follow this link for Holy Week Walking with Jesus reflections and pictures.