Ash Wednesday starts the journey through Lent. The ashes mark us as people forgiven and who are called to forgive, inviting us to to return to God and one another.
This year’s theme of forgiveness asks what does it mean to return to the Lord, and what do we turn away from as we turn toward God’s grace and mercy? We will reflect on a gospel text each week, hearing the ways Jesus shows us the centrality of forgiveness in our life with God. Knowing that we are forgiven and loved is at the heart of our journey of faith, as is participating in offering forgiveness to another.
Our sacraments are signs of the real presence of Christ and symbols of God’s action in the world. The water at the font washes away sin and we are forgiven; Jesus pours out himself in the cup for the forgiveness of sin. As Jesus prepares for his own death, forgiveness is very much on his mind. It is inextricably bound up with his life and death, as it is with our own, as Christians.
Sundays throughout Lent, Pastor Tim Hart-Andersen will share in a dialogue sermon with an interfaith partner. Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman, Rev. Dr. Alika Galloway, Michael O’Connell, Imam Makram El-Amin and Dr. Shashikant Sane will describe where forgiveness fits into their faith tradition. Is it as central to their walk as a person of faith, as it is to our as Christians? What do their sacred texts teach about receiving and offering forgiveness and what can we learn?
The music during Lent will be as varied as the speakers. We’ll experience 100 conductors from China featuring Hua Yu, the Fred Steele Family, Cantus and singer, songwriter, Michael Sutton.
Covenant Groups will gather again this season to explore scripture and the theme of forgiveness in a small group format. We’ll meet Sundays (9:15 am, Westminster), Tuesdays and Wednesdays (7:15 pm at Central Lutheran) throughout Lent. Online registration is closed, but you are welcome to call or show up at a class to register.