On March 1, you may have noticed some people running around Fernley with black marks on their heads.  Now during the forty days of the season of Lent there are extra services in Liturgical congregations…in Fernley that is mostly Lutheran and Roman Catholic.

If you are not a member of a Liturgical style worship you may not understand what is going on with us.

For the 40 days after Ash Wednesday we remember and reflect on the life of Jesus Christ and the preparation for the Easter Resurrection.  Most Christian denominations celebrate Easter (and maybe Holy Week, the days leading up to Sunday), but what is all the fasting and extra worship about.  For us, this is a time to give thanks for our salvation and remember that we are people of the Resurrection…and what that cost to redeem us.

ELCA Presiding Bishop Eaton says, “We are in the middle of Lent — the season of spiritual warfare, or at least really good intentions. Many of us now engage in some form of Lenten discipline. We give up something: chocolate or coffee or FreeCell. Or we add something: Scripture reading, midweek worship or service projects. This seems normal and familiar to us just as the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday or crossing ourselves has become normal and familiar in many of our congregations.

I remember a time when none of these practices would be considered Lutheran by large segments of our church. Too works righteous, too showy, too … old style!  We didn’t need to, nor could we make ourselves holy or righteous. That was the whole point of justification by grace through faith apart from works of the law (Romans 3:21-28, Article IV of the Augsburg Confession).”

Most ELCA congregations, including Gift of Grace in Fernley, observe some form of Lenten worship.  We get together on Wednesday nights at 6pm for a short service, followed by study and a light soup dinner together.  This year we are looking at the Small Catechism written by Martin Luther.  We are using the time to remember why Jesus Christ came into this world, suffered, died on the cross, and rose from the dead on Easter Sunday for our salvation.

Feel free to join us to find out what is going on in this corner of Christianity.

Pr. Mike Patterson

Gift of Grace Lutheran Church

290 S. West St., Fernley

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