…Of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Matthew – a friendly household of faith. We are America’s oldest Lutheran Church (congregation), now in its 350th year of faithful witness to the Lord Jesus Christ since receiving its historic Charter on December 6, 1664.
A Lenten Journey.
With the sign of the cross marked on the foreheads of the faithful with ashes, the remains of palm fronds from last year’s Palm Sunday that are burned, the Liturgical Church Year enters into the Lenten season.
Lent, borrowed from the word “lengthen” because of the longer days in springtime, traditionally is a period of forty days, excluding Sundays, a spiritual journey of following in the footsteps of Jesus that ends with the events of Holy Week and ultimately on Easter day – his triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem, the last supper, his trial, crucifixion, death, and burial, and his glorious resurrection on the third day. The forty days are representative of the period of time that Jesus, after His baptism in the Jordan River, was driven into the Judean wilderness where he fasted and was tempted by the devil in an attempt to thwart the divine plan of salvation in Jesus, who by and through His active and passive obedience became the sinless and pure “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
During this penitential time, Christians choose to observe the three disciplines of Lent – fasting (abstinence from things and certain activities), prayer (and meditation on God’s Word, especially the holy suffering and death of Jesus) and alms giving (good deeds done to all). These righteous works are not meritorious for our salvation, but are expressions of the sanctified life of the baptized and are done in response to the free gift of God who has won for us the victory over sin, death, and the devil by the atoning and vicarious death of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins.
We confess this truth in the Confession of FAITH which is expressed concisely in the Creeds.