I have thought about many things this past Lenten Season. This is the season in which Christians focus on their own sin and depravity and their great need of a Savior to pay for their sins. It is not a time where we do something in order to pay for our own sins. Rather, we look at Jesus, the God-Man who represents us before the Father and takes upon Himself the sins of the world.
As a new Lutheran this was my 2nd Lenten Season and yet it was the first one where I understood the season just a bit better. I am sure I have much more to learn but this year was intense.
Each day I tried to read through the Treasury of Daily Prayer and the Lent Season readings through the Old Testament, Epistles and Gospel readings. Each one focused on the ministry of Jesus in reconciling us to God. It was a time of deep reflection on the cost of my salvation and also of rejoicing in the God-Man who came to destroy death, sin and the devil.
It all culminated for me during the Maundy Thursday service. Our Pastor taught us about the real meaning of the Lord’s Supper and how Jesus served His students/disciples to the very end by washing their feet and giving them the Bread and Wine, teaching them This is my Body broken FOR YOU. This is my Blood poured out FOR YOU. Then, we the congregation were invited to come up to the altar and partake of His Body and Blood for the remission of our sins. I love when Pastor and an Elder will hand me the element and remind me that it is for “the forgiveness of YOUR sins.” Every time I partake of the True Body and Blood of our Lord I am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed because He gives me of Himself and all the gifts He purchased for me in the salvation of my soul with grace and forgiveness.
Yet, I was not prepared for what came at the end of the service. You see, I am on the Altar Guild for church which means I help out with setting up the altar for the Lord’s Supper and all other duties needed. Well, Maundy Thursday is when, after the service, Pastor reads from Psalm 22 and those on the Altar Guild come to the front and strip the altar of everything; candles, plates, cups and altarware. We then cover it in black.