For those of you who want direction for your private devotion, reflection, quiet time, or whatever you may call it, here is a guide for each of the weeks in Lent through Holy Week. If you’ve ever wondered what Lent and Holy Week is about, it is a period of weeks in the Church calendar in which we tell the Christian story with major Biblical themes resonating each week. We are more familiar with this at Christmas, but the run-up to Easter is even greater. That’s because the Church always regarded the resurrection of our Lord to be a greater event than his birth – and the incarnation was important!
Regardless of our various religious traditions, we should all be thinking and preparing for the annual remembrance of our Lord’s death – and the cause of it, our sin. I should have posted this on Ash Wednesday, but I just received this from a minister in our Diocese who presented it today in what we call a “clericus,” (that’s a meeting of the ministers for worship and teaching, not for “bidnuss”).
Here’s the table below. The Scripture lessons are those appointed by the lectionery, which is a schedule of readings; the collect (pronounced KOL lekt) is a prayer for which you need a prayer book (I have provided links so that you can read the collects on-line if you wish). If you are not currently participating in a community of faith, you can experience the richness of the Anglican tradition at All Saints Church, which meets in the Marie Macdonald Chapel on the campus of New Covenant Schools each Sunday at 9 am.
Lenten Themes from the Book of Common Prayer
|Penitence||Ash Wed.||Instructions on fasting & the treasure/heart relationship. (Mt 6:16-21)||Repentance, rending of hearts, priestly intercession. (Joel 2:12-17)||New & contrite hearts. Echoes of Ps 51 (which is said in the Penitential Office)|
|Spiritual Warfare||Lent 1||Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness & temptation by the devil. (Mt 4:1-11)||Paul’s perseverance in affliction. (2 Cor 6:1-10)||Grace for abstinence & holiness.|
|Lent 2||Jesus casts out a devil from the Canaanite woman’s daughter. (Mt. 15:21-28)||Possessing one’s vessel & abstaining from fornication. (1 Thess 4:1-8)||Our weakness and need for Divine defense of body and soul.|
|Lent 3||Jesus casts out a devil & is accused of doing so by the power of Beelzebub. (Lk 11:14-23)||Sexual immorality & covetousness not to be named among saints. Walk as children of light vs. darkness, (Eph 5:1-14)||Plea for Divine defense against all our enemies.|
|A lull in the action & respite from battle.||Lent 4|
Mothering or Laetare Sunday
|Feeding of the 5,000. That prophet come into the world. (Jn 6:1-14)||Sarah & Hagar. Children of the Jerusalem above, which is free and mother of us all. (Gal 4:21-31)||Plea for merciful relief vs deserved punishment for evil deeds.|
|The battle is rejoined & intensified.||Lent 5|
|Jesus’ accusation: You know not the Father and are liars.|
Jesus’ claim: Before Abraham was, I AM. (Jn 8:46-59)
|Jesus the great High Priest, redeems by His own blood. (Heb 9:11-15)||Plea for God’s eternal governance & preservation of body & soul.|
|The Shepherd is struck & the sheep are scattered. The war seems lost.||Lent 6|
|The passion narrative of Matthew. (Mt 27)||Let the mind of Christ be in you, Who humbled Himself even unto death on the cross. (Phil 2:5-11)||Plea to follow Christ’s example of humility & patience, and to partake of His resurrection.|
|Passion Narratives: The Betrayal and Crucifixion of Christ||Holy Monday||Passover meal and betrayal of Christ. (Mk 14)||The coming of the Messiah in vengeance & redemption. (Isa 63)||Walking in the way of the cross.|
|Holy Tuesday||St. Mark’s Passion Narrative. (Mk 15)||The suffering Servant. Isa 50:5-11||Grace in our sufferings & assurance of glory.|
|Holy Wednesday||Passover meal and betrayal of Christ. (Lk 22)||Christ, the better sacrifice, once offered, entered the heavenly places. (Heb 9:16-28)||Meditation upon Christ’s mighty acts of salvation.|
of Holy Communion &
|Maundy Thursday||St. Luke’s Passion Narrative. (Lk 22). The washing of the disciples’ feet. (Jn 13)||St. Paul’s account of the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion, (1 Cor 11:23-26)||Life eternal pledged in the holy mysteries of the Sacrament instituted at the Passover.|
|The Crucifixion of Christ||Good Friday||St. John’s Passion Narrative. (Jn 19)||Boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, through the veil, having an High Priest over the house of God… (Heb 10:1-25)||1. Behold this thy family, for whom Christ died…|
2. Receive our supplications & prayers.
3. Have mercy upon them that know ye not.
|The Burial of Christ||Easter Even||The Burial of Jesus (Mt 27:57-66)||Suffering though innocent models Christ, Who did so that He might bring us to God. (1 Pet 3:17-22)||Baptized into Christ & buried with Him, we may pass through the gate of death to resurrection.|