February 14th is Valentine’s day, but this year it is also when Ash Wednesday lands, which is the official beginning of Lent. This special day occurs 40 days before Easter (excluding Sundays) and is traditionally a time of fasting and preparation including special church services (usually with their own sacraments), ceremonies, and prayers.
Unlike a Catholic or Lutheran church, Woodland is not a liturgical church, meaning we don’t follow a specific Biblical calendar/schedule for the year and, traditionally, churches like ours haven’t observed Lent. However, we do believe it’s important to prepare our hearts for Good Friday and Easter before that weekend arrives. That’s why, on February 14th, we’re holding an Ash Wednesday service and experience here at Woodland for people of all ages!
The goal is to create a time and space for individuals and families to come together in worship, prayer, and community as they meditate on what Christ’s sacrifice means for us, find healing or spiritual growth, and remember His journey to the cross. There will be worship through music, a short teaching, and interactive stations to help everyone – kids to adults – prepare their hearts for the Easter season.
Stations include three primary categories found in most Ash Wednesday services: Prayer, Release (confession & forgiveness), and Simplicity (giving/sacrifice), as well as a station designed for the young at heart to share God’s love with others in a tangible way.
A devotional guidebook will be available to use that night and take home for further study during the coming weeks. Also, a companion version for children, which includes coloring pages and a place to get a stamp after completing each station, will be given out, as well.
And because we know following Jesus is best done in community, we’re excited to offer a community dinner before the service beginning at 6:15pm. A simple menu of soup, salad, and bread will be served. The actual service will start at 7pm.
We’re excited for February 14th and are especially excited to help kids and their families interact with their Savior through the various stations, music worship, and connecting time over the meal. Hope to see you there!
By Patrick Showers, Elementary Associate Pastor