Lent is the period of forty days which comes before Easter in the Christian Calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing Lent, Christians reflect upon Jesus’ self-discipline and withdrawal into the desert for forty days. Lent is marked by a pulling back. Whereas Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus after his death on the cross, Lent recalls the events leading up to and including that crucifixion. The Christian churches of the 21st century use Lent as a time of prayer and reflection. Only a small number of people fast for the whole of Lent, although some maintain the practice on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. And many might surrender time or money to make a difference to those in need. Whatever the sacrifice, it is a reflection only of Jesus’ deprivation in the wilderness and a test of self-discipline. In churches around the world the liturgical colour is purple.
At St Catherine’s during Lent we replace our ‘word-based’ Prayers of Intercession with a world map and pray in stillness for places on it (this year we will focus on the 20 or so nations of origin that are currently part of the Stuttgart-based St Catherine’s church family). The liturgy is observed mostly kneeling rather than standing. Missing for the whole of Lent are the Gloria and any Alleluias, instead what makes an appearance is a summary of the Ten Commandments.
Where there is a choice of liturgy, click on the purple text of your choice for this week in Lent.
Theme: Under Construction
An Opening Prayer:
Holy God, as we meet together today,
we ask that you renew our love for you.
Open our eyes to see fresh things,
open our ears to hear with more clarity,
open our minds to recognise new ideas –
that we may be willing to grow and change
and to become more like your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
These are always read in full during Lent.
The Commandments from Exodus 20.1-17
From Common Worship br>
There are two on offer here –
A more traditional one taken from Psalm 51
Another more using the imagination
Stillness for reflection
In faith we receive God’s forgiveness and the Spirit’s enabling to change where we need to
Collect for today:
Eternal God, give us insight to discern your will for us, to give up what harms us, and to seek the perfection we are promised in Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Bible Reading:
Jesus overturning the tables in the Temple is a shocking act but seems nothing compared to what he says next. The Temple was believed to be a space where heaven touched earth, but Jesus speaks of destroying it and rebuilding it in three days. However, Jesus isn’t speaking about the physical Temple, but his body. Jesus signals that his death and resurrection makes the whole world into the Temple of God.
What then, in our context, of the Church? What does it mean to be church, rather than just doing it? If we are the Temple (of the Spirit), what might we need to throw out?
- If you are a ‘community under (re)construction’, what needs constructing next?
Affirmation of Faith for Lent:
There are two on offer here –
A more traditional one taken from St Paul’s letter to the Philippians chapter2
Another more using the imagination – you choose how many of the verses you wish to use week by week
The ‘Our Father’
We draw all our prayers together in the words of –
Our Father who art in heaven…
…for ever and ever. Amen.
A sending out prayer:
We came (even Online) together to worship God.
We have read God’s Word.
We have prayed and sung songs.
Now we go into God’s world:
to be God’s people wherever we are called to go.
Let us go in Christ’s name