Lent at Haymarket Church

Experience the Season of Lent

 In order to help us dive deeply into Scripture, we will be reading the Gospel of John together, along with the book John: The Gospel of Light and Life by Adam Hamilton.  This book is a short guide to help us better understand what is happening in the John‘s Gospel.  We will read one chapter each week beginning on February 21 and going until Easter (April 4).  We have purchased a copy of the book for every household at our church, so that everyone can participate in this opportunity to grow in faith.  

Would you like a book? CONTACT US

Book Cover- John the Gospel of Light and Life-- light shining on blue

What is Lent?

Here’s a great, simple, explanation of Lent from the United Methodist Church:

Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means “spring.” The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.

Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.

Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a “mini-Easter” and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.

This year, Lent begins on February 17 and runs through April 3.

Holy Week Worship Schedule

Holy Week is the week when we tell the most important part of the Christian story – the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

It begins on Palm Sunday (March 28). We will be distributing palms for Palm Sunday (so you can have them at home!).

For Maundy Thursday (Thursday, April 1), we will be offering resources to help you celebrate a holy meal at home.

For Good Friday (April 2), we will have an online Good Friday service (with music, Scripture reading, and sermon) at 7 PM.

And, for Easter Sunday (April 4), we will have our weekly worship livestream at 10 AM, along with an in-person, outdoor, socially distanced service in the parking lot of Haymarket Elementary School (more details on that service coming soon).  We look forward to celebrating Holy Week together with you!

Devotional by Text and Email

For those who are looking to “go deeper” and really dig into the season of Lent, we’ve put together a devotional called “Jesus in the Old Testament.”  We will be exploring stories from the Old Testament and seeing how they point us to Jesus.  These devotionals have been written by pastors and Christian scholars from throughout Virginia (and beyond). 

A few times each week, we will send a link (by text and email) that will take you to the devotional for the day.  To sign up to receive these daily devotionals by text, simply text “LENT” to 474747.  To sign up to receive them by email, simply send an email with the subject line “Sign me Up for the Lenten Devotional” to info@haymarketchurch.org.

You can find all of the devotionals (all those that have been published so far) here.

Suggestions for Practicing a Holy Lent

Lent is a time to ask forgiveness for our sins, think about how we can live more faithfully, and try out new practices. It has traditionally been a time of fasting (“giving something up”) but is also a very appropriate time to “try something new.” So, below we have offered some suggestions of things you might try to help you experience Lent more fully. Don’t try all of them (that would be overwhelming) – just pick a few that work for you and your family, or come up with your own practice. This should be challenging (we need to be challenged if we want to grow) but not so challenging that you quit after a few days.

  • Worship each Sunday (10:00 AM online).
  • Commit to reading two chapters from the Gospels each day. If you start with Matthew 1 today, you should finish John by Easter.
  • Commit to the Haymarket Church Daily Bible Reading Plan. You can find it at HaymarketChurch.org/ReadingPlan – or, just email “sign me up for the weekly Bible Reading Email” to info@haymarketchurch.org and we’ll email you the readings for the week each Monday morning.
  • Spend 10 minutes each morning and 10 minutes each evening in prayer. If you already do that, pray for 10 minutes at lunch too.
  • Have a conversation with someone who represents a perspective that you don’t understand. Listen more than you talk.
    • Give up going out to eat at restaurants. Figure how much money you save and give it away to an organization that fights hunger.
  • Do something really nice for someone who annoys you.
  • Write a letter to someone who lives far away. Tell that person about your life and about how much you care for them.
  • Share a meal with someone who is lonely.
  • Do something really nice for someone who frustrates you.
  • Visit someone in prison, a nursing home, or the hospital weekly.
  • Offer help to someone who is struggling to pay their bills.
  • For most of history (and in much of the world today), meat was a rare delicacy/treat. Give up eating meat during Lent and learn about how most other people in the world have lived.
  • Don’t use any paper towels or napkins – instead, use only cloth products. Then, take some time to wonder about how much trash we produce each day.
  • Cook a meal for a family who is struggling and deliver it to them.
  • Each week, take someone who is on a tight budget out for lunch. Have a good conversation and then pay for the meal (tip well!).
  • Write one thank you note each day to someone who has made your life better. Take time to think about unnoticed people (servers at restaurants, workers at grocery stores, people who make the things we use) and try to include them too.
  • Pray for your enemies each day. Include (among others) violent groups around the world, criminals in this country, people with whom you disagree politically, and folks in your family and daily life who you just don’t like very much.
  • At the end of each day, spend a few minutes reflecting on what happened during the day. List the times when you felt close to God, the times when you felt far from God, the times when you were faithful to God, the times when you were tempted to sin, and the times when you actually sinned. Then confess your sin to God and thank God for sustaining you.
  • Try tithing – giving 10% of your income to church – from now until Easter. See what happens.
  • Make a list of 5 people in your life who might need to experience more of God’s light and love. Pray for them each day and ask God to show you how to share God’s love with them.
  • Spend 10 minutes each day reading the news and praying over it – read the articles with an eye towards praying for the people involved, and ask God to show you how you can make a difference.
  • Take a true Sabbath each week – no work emails, no working from home, simply resting and caring for yourself.
  • Slow down. Take a walk and pay attention to the world around you. Sip your coffee slowly. Breathe and notice the presence of God.