Hymn: Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days (Claudia F. Hernaman/”Land of Rest”)
Invitation to the Observance of Lenten Discipline
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
the early Christians observed with great devotion
the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection
and it became the custom of the Church that before the Easter celebration
there should be a forty-day season of spiritual preparation.
During this season, converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism.
It was also a time when persons who had committed serious sins
and had separated themselves from the community of faith
were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness,
and restored to participation in the life of the Church.
In this way, the who congregation was reminded
of the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ
and the need we all have to renew our faith.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church,
to observe a holy Lent:
by self-examination and repentance;
by prayer, fasting, and self-denial;
and by reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word.
To make a right beginning of repentance
and as a mark of our mortal nature,
let us now bow before our Creator and Redeemer.
(United Methodist Book of Worship)
O God, maker of everything and judge of all that you have made,
from the dust of the earth you have formed us
and from the dust of the earth you would raise us up.
By the redemptive power of the cross,
create in us clean hearts and put within us a new spirit,
that we may repent of our sins and lead lives worthy of your calling;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Lawrence Hull Stookey)
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen.