Erin Coleman is on staff at Restoration. She oversees all of our Sunday morning worship life. Here are some of her thoughts on how things will ‘feel’ different during Lent:
We’re coming up on six weeks in to the worship life of Restoration, and I feel like we’re starting to hit our stride. There’s a flow to our worship service. We know who is supposed to do what and when (at least most of the time). Things seem to just move along. We’re finally getting comfortable.
Must be time to change a few things!
Starting this Sunday, you’ll notice some changes to our liturgy, the pattern of our worship service. We’re making these changes because it’s Lent, the season of prayer, fasting, self-examination, and penitence that leads up to Easter. Our service will reflect those emphases. We’ll begin by saying together the ten commandments, and then we’ll move right into the prayer of confession. (There’s nothing like the ten commandments to make me aware of my sin and the need to confess!) And we don’t get to say “alleluia” again until Easter.
There will be other changes, too. We’ll say the Apostles Creed instead of the Nicene Creed. We’ll use a different version of the Eucharistic prayer in the Great Thanksgiving. We do these things mostly as a reminder that Lent is a unique season in the church year. We’re used to our lives being shaped by the differences in the physical seasons. The changes to our liturgy can serve as a reminder of how our lives can also be shaped by the different seasons of the church year.
It will probably feel a little bit weird at first. Inevitably, we’ll mess up. Someone will forget which version of the prayer of confession we’re supposed to say. Someone will start off the Nicene Creed. Undoubtedly, I’ll add an “alleluia” after the service’s final “Thanks be to God!” It will all be a little discombobulating.
But I think this is a good thing. Feeling a little off-balance in our worship can be a powerful reminder of our dependence on God, and of how our worship is about God and not about us and how well we do it. It’s also a reminder of how big God is—of how no worship container that we make can ever encompass His glory. Above all, I hope it will lead us all back to God’s grace, to the renewed knowledge that all that we have and all that we are—even our worship—comes from Him.
I’m looking forward to journeying through this season of Lent with you.