Christ Lutheran's Lenten Services
March 9, 2022
Last Wednesday, Christ Lutheran Church kicked off its services for observing Lent with an Ash Wednesday Service midday on March 6th. Ash Wednesday is the first day of the season where churches begin to prepare to celebrate Good Friday and Easter. Melanie Schwarzbach, who is currently the chair of the board at Christ Lutheran, explained: "We take time out of our week to reflect upon Jesus' journey to the cross and to be mindful of the sacrifices He made for us." The time taken out of the week that Melanie referred to is typically a Wednesday evening service. What makes this particular service unique for Christ Lutheran is the addition of a meal before service, different music, and the teenagers leading the service. Of particular note is that the young people will be doing the homily as well.
"Lenten services start at 6:00 pm every Wednesday during Lent with a soup/sandwich supper, followed by fellowship/visiting until the actual service at 7. Different groups take turns providing the food; mostly the ladies groups, but the youth takes a week as well," Melanie explained. The time of relationship and eating together is important as a part of the larger community celebration of Easter. Several adults I spoke with, who attended services during lent as children, mentioned the soup and sandwich dinners first and with fondness. The fellowship component is often the sweetest part of the gatherings.
Melanie went on to describe the different style of worship service that is typical of Lenten services: "The service is the Holden Evening Service, which is a more contemporary service filled with beautiful music. The service has been led by the youth group for many years (since before my Eric was old enough for youth!)." I got a preview of the event when I came across the boys from the youth group gathered around the piano last week practicing singing in anticipation of the worship services. I can confidently say that Melanie wasn't exaggerating about the beautiful music that will be performed at the Wednesday evening services.
Christ Lutheran Church is currently without a pastor, after the Jannsens accepted a call to ministry in Washington last year. This has created a unique leadership opportunity for the young members to participate in the service. Melanie explained the change they will be implementing this year: "Traditionally, the Lenten service is a time for quiet reflection and preparation for Easter. It's always included a brief homily, which was typically given by our minister. Not currently having a minister means that part of the service is handled by someone else. This year the youth kids, with help by their leaders, have prepared the homilies."
The season of Lent is a terrific opportunity to prepare spiritually for celebrating Easter. Christ Lutheran's decision to include young people in more and more of the facilitation of worship creates a special environment and opportunity: "The Lenten services are a way to not only encourage our youth to participate in services, but an opportunity to hear their beautiful singing voices. It's a great way to incorporate our youth into our services and to further our church relationship with them." She also pointed out that "You don't need to be a Lutheran to attend!" Everyone is welcome to come, worship, prepare yourself spiritually for Easter, and to watch the youth of Christ Lutheran sing, lead worship, and preach the homilies.