Why? This is perhaps one of the most fundamental questions we have to offer. As children learn new things, they pepper their families with “whys” as they seek deeper meaning and purpose in this wide world. As children of God, we are inclined to do the same with our Holy Parent. Followers of Christ are always learning new ways of following Jesus and what it means to be disciples, and the season of Lent is an opportunity to slow down with intentionality and get back to the “why” of our faith. This simple question that will guide our worship, conversations, and reflections throughout this 40-day season, as together we seek a clearer articulation of our “whys” for worshiping, forgiving, laboring, welcoming, investing, and caring. The approach will be simple, as we aren't trying to over-clutter this season with activity, but rather to provide opportunity for reflection that meets you where you are. So bring your hearts, minds, and faithful questions, knowing that the cross of Christ lies behind all of those questions as God meets us in our discernment of purpose and naming our deepest longings. We hope you’ll join us in worship, service, and fellowship as we grow closer to God and one another in this season of offering up a faithful...Why?
Lent Schedule and Activities
There are so many opportunities for you and your family during this season of Lent at Muhlenberg! From worship to small groups to kids' activities - see below for all the details, dates, links and info your family needs.
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, February 21 at 6pm Shrove Tuesday is the name given to the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It is traditionally the day when Christians would prepare for Lent by confessing their sins, and being “shriven” (absolved.) In A.D. 600, Pope St. Gregory prohibited Christians from eating all forms of meat and animal products during Lent, so Christians began to make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to use up their supply of eggs, milk and butter, which also earned it the name “Fat Tuesday.” The tradition continues today all around the world – including here at Muhlenberg on Tuesday, February 21! So mark your calendars now for the upcoming Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper in the MAC. Pancakes and sausage provided. Bring your appetite and celebrate Fat Tuesday with us at Muhlenberg. Doors open at 6:00 pm but, if you arrive early, you're welcome to wait in the Gathering Area and visit with others there.
Ash Wednesday, February 22 Noon & 7pm Worship We begin our forty-day journey toward Easter with a day of fasting and repentance. Marking our foreheads with dust, we acknowledge that we die and return to the earth. At the same time, the dust traces the life-giving cross indelibly marked on our foreheads at baptism. Worship services will be offered at the church at 12:00 noon and 7:00 pm. The 7:00 pm service will also be live-streamed to Facebook and YouTube. If you are unable to attend worship in person, we would like to bring the ashes and a blessing to you. Pastor Lauren and Pastor Alex will be traveling throughout the area on Ash Wednesday to administer ashes to individuals at the doorways of their homes.
Join a "Why" Group Today! This March, you’re invited to an experience that just might change your life.
OK, that might be overstating it a bit…but you never know what might happen when you open yourself up to the Holy Spirit’s presence in community! As we explore the theme of “Why” this Lent, we’d like everyone in our Muhlenberg community to join a four-week small group, called a “Why Group.”
Four weeks, one hour a week…that’s it. You can make that work in your schedule! Especially since you can pick a time and location that works best for you—we’ve got groups gathering all over the area, as well as online. Want to meet on Tuesday mornings at a coffee shop? Wednesday nights with a light meal? Sunday afternoons at church? Thursday mornings at Mr. J’s before work? Midday Monday or Thursday evening on Zoom? Saturday mornings at the playground? All of these and more are options! In a Why Group, you’ll gather with 6-8 others to get to know each other, explore Scripture together, and wonder about the “Whys” in our own lives. At the end of the four weeks, our goal is that you’ll feel more connected to your community and your faith. It’s a short term commitment that will lead to long term relationships and a deeper understanding of God’s work in your life.
A full list of groups are available at www.muhlenberglutheran.org/whygroup, which is also where you can go to sign up. Each group is limited to a maximum of 10 people, so sign up today!
Lent for Kids & Families A lot is happening in Lent this year for families and kids of all ages!
Lenten Materials for Families This year, we are offering the Faithful Families for Lent booklet for families. Traci Smith, the author of the Faithful Families series, has created a resource for families during the Lenten season. The resource starts Ash Wednesday and goes through Pentecost. This booklet provides a scripture focus, a weekly meditation, and a faith practice. This resource is adaptable for all ages. Booklets will be available at the Connection Center starting Feb 19.
Welcome To The Table Pastor Lauren and Ms. Ashley invite all children in grades 2-5 to join them in a Welcome to the Table class to learn about the gift of Holy Communion and how it weaves together the whole church on earth and in heaven. As we go through the lessons of A Place for You by Daniel Erlander, children and their families will be guided to a deeper understanding of their call to faith and community through the welcome table and the sacraments. Children in grades 2-5 are welcome to attend, whether you’re waiting for your First Communion, or you’ve been joining in the feast and want to learn more. Classes will be held at 9:45 am on March 19 and 26, during the Christian Formation hour. We will have our final class at the church on Saturday, April 1 at 10:00 am to have breakfast, continue the conversation, and bake communion bread together.
Music During Lent A "joyful noise" will be heard throughout the Lenten season with these wonderful musical programs for children and adults alike.
Lenten Midday Recitals, Thursdays in Lent at noon Our Music Ministry is pleased to offer a series of six half-hour recitals each Thursday at 12:00 noon during the Lenten season. Now in its 14th year, these 30-minute musical moments have been a spiritual blessing to all, both to the listener and performer. We are excited to offer an array of varied talents this season:
February 23, Soprano Elizabeth (Lizzy) Thomas – JMU Senior Vocal Performance Major. She will sing classical works by Grieg, Turina, Fauré, & Gounod.
March 2, Members of Muhlenberg – Greta Willis, Cynthia Page, Kathy Thompson, Wylie Walton, Karen Barnes and Elizabeth Williams will perform sacred music for flute and voice.
March 9, Soprano Bryanna (Bry) Toll – JMU Senior Vocal Performance Major. She will perform classical works by Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Schubert & Mozart.
March 16, Linlin Uta, piano - Muhlenberg’s Music Ministry Accompanist and DMA candidate at JMU will perform classical piano works.
March 23, Elizabeth Williams, pianist - Our Music Minister will perform various sacred and secular works for piano and voice.
March 30, Soprano Alexandria Hunter – JMU Junior Vocal Performance Major. She will perform African-American Spirituals and classical works by Mozart & Ravel.
These amazing mid-day recitals have always been performed free of charge and open to all. We will continue to do so, however, there will be an opportunity to offer a monetary donation at each recital to help support the Music Ministry here at Muhlenberg. Recitals will also be live-streamed via Facebook and YouTube.
Children's Choir is Back! Cherub Choir and Tween/Teen Choir is back, and will begin rehearsing Sunday, February 26, immediately following the 11:00 am service, and continuing each Sunday through April 2. Both groups will sing in worship on Sunday, March 26 (11:00 am service only) and on Easter Sunday, April 9 (11:00 am service only). So come, children! Let’s make a joyful noise unto the Lord!
Lenten Devotional Books Lent calls us to a time of more intentional spiritual disciplines, like prayer and study. If you’re looking for a resource to guide you through the season, we have two options available in the Gathering Area beginning February 12:
The Desert of Compassion: Devotions for the Lenten Journey by Presbyterian minister and Benedictine oblate Rachel Srubas invites us into our own desert places where Christ meets us with a love that will transform our hearts. (suggested donation: $15)
Because Grace: A Lenten Devotional by ELCA pastor John W. Stevens combines Scripture, poetry, and reflection to help us reflect on and live into God’s boundless grace. (suggested donation: $10)
Contribute to devotionals by dropping your check and designated Lenten Devotional in the offering plate or the wooden box located next to the devotionals.
Lenten Service Project for Church World Service This Lenten season, Local & Global Mission invites you to support the mission of Church World Service (CWS). CWS works to resettle and support refugee families coming to the Valley. Each week during Lent, we will collect items needed by these families. We have broken the list up by the week, but you are welcome to bring any of the items at any time. Items may be brought to the church and placed in the bin in the Gathering Area or placed in the Connection Box during the week. You may also designate a financial gift by placing a check in the offering plate or mailing it to the church office with a notation that it is for Church World Service. Let’s join together with our new neighbors, as God’s people, woven together in grace! Items being collected are:
February 26 -Toothbrush and toothpaste
March 5 - Baby wipes and diapers
March 12 - Band-aids, first aid supplies, thermometers
March 19 - Soap, shampoo, deodorant
March 26 - Cleaning items
April 2 - Pillows and sheets (twin and full size)
Easter Flowers The tradition of Easter Lilies in the church are a beautiful way to remember and honor loved ones. This year, we would like to add some additional seasonal color to the mix, so we will be offering Easter Lilies, Hydrangeas and Hyacinths. The cost per plant is $25. To reserve your Easter flowers, do the following:
Sign up online (see our webpage for links), at the Connection Center, or call Louise Layman (540-442-1524)
Pay for Easter Flowers (write your flower preference on the memo line). Place your check in the offering plate, or mail it to the church office (281 East Market Street, Harrisonburg 22801). Payments reserve flowers.
Holy Week Schedule Mark your calendars for Holy Week Worship services this year!
Palm/Passion Sunday: April 2 at 8:30 am and 11:00 am, with a celebration of those participating in “Welcome to the Table.”
Maundy Thursday: April 6 at 7:00 pm, in-person and live-streamed.
Good Friday, April 7:
Community Prayer Walk at 12:00 noon.
Worship at 7:00 pm, in-person and livestreamed.
Easter Vigil:April 8 at 4:00 pm.
Easter Sunday, April 9: Worship at 8:30 am and 11:00 am.
Easter Breakfast Potluck - inside the MAC 9:30-11:00 am. Bring a dish (breakfast casseroles, breads, fruit, etc.) to share! Coffee, tea, and juice provided.
Easter Egg Hunt and activities at 9:45 am outside of the MAC - this will be a fun time for kids and families of all ages.
Muhlenberg Lutheran Church 281 East Market Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801