The penitential season of Lent continues into March this year, and the sanctuary maintains its somber tone. The chancel continues to be vested in purple symbolizing repentance. Shiny objects are removed from the worship space and flowers may be omitted. The Lenten tradition of fasting or “giving up” something is not intended as a public act of piety, but, rather, a private means of removing distractions so that the community of faith may focus on the example of the sacrificial love of Christ as the model for their lives. The gospel lessons in March direct the meditations of the community. The first Sunday's gospel (Mark 1:9-15) recounts the temptation of the Lord. The second (Mark 8:31-38) challenges the community of faith to “take up” its cross boldly. The third Sunday's gospel (John 2:13-22) recounts His purification of the Temple and foreshadows the cross. The fourth Sunday's lesson (John 3:14-21) emphasizes the Messiah's role of redeemer rather than judge. The fifth Sunday's lesson (John 12:20-33) reveals to His followers the price of their redemption--Jesus' life—and His willingness to be their--our--Paschal Lamb. What wondrous love!
The Scofield Study Bible. 2003. Oxford University Press: New York, NY.
The United Methodist Book of Worship. 1992. The United Methodist Publishing House: Nashville, TN.
United Methodist Calendar & Workbook 2009. 2008. Abingdon Press: Nashville, TN.