Historically, in some places, enrollment for baptism at Easter Vigil began on the first Sunday of Lent. Today this is called the catechumenate. The Gospel readings for Lent in Cycle A of the lectionary are the traditional texts that catechumenates studied in preparation for baptism.

What is Lent? If you live in a part of the country where there aren’t many Lutherans, or in a place with a significantly large unchurched population, it may take a little explaining.Although the texts for Ash Wednesday are the same all three years of the Revised Common Lectionary, I often took time on Ash Wednesday to introduce the season of Lent and splash the themes and the texts for our Wednesday night Lenten services.

Do you have a theme for your Wednesday night Lenten services yet? A few years ago I wrote Learning to Pray Again. This year I finished a second book called, Learning to Fast Again. I humbly submit either them as possibilities, if you want to invite the congregation into some spiritual practices this Lent. CLICK HERE for more on using Learning to Fast Again during Lent.

Lent A at-a-glance

Ash Wednesday:Matthew 6 – Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving
Lent 1: Matthew 4: The Temptation in the Wilderness
Lent 2: John 3 (Nicodemus) or Matthew 17
Lent 3: John 4 (Woman at the Well)
Lent 4: John 9 (Healing of the Man Born Blind)
Lent 5: John 11 (The Raising of Lazarus)
Palm/Passion Sunday: Matthew 21 and 26 or 27

Ash Wednesday – February 22, 2023CLICK HERE for a post on Ash Wednesday A

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 Blow the trumpet. Sound the fast. Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning.
Isaiah 58:1-12
The fast that God chooses: loose the bonds of injustice, let the oppressed go free, share your bread with the hungry, invite the homeless poor into your house.

Psalm 51:1-17
 –Have mercy on me O Lord, according to your lovingkindness. Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

2 Corinthians 5:20b – 6:10 
– We are ambassadors for Christ. Now is the acceptable time. Now is the day of salvation. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 
– Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount discipleship instructions on praying, fasting and almsgiving

Lent 1A – February 26, 2023CLICK HERE for a post on Lent 1A

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 Adam and Eve eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “On the day that you eat of it, you shall die.”

Psalm 32
 –Happy are those whose transgression is covered, whose sin is forgiven.

Romans 5:12-19
 –Death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses. Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.

Matthew 4:1-11 
Jesus’ 40-day fast and the Temptation in the Wilderness

Lent 2A – March 4, 2023CLICK HERE for a post on Lent 2A

Genesis 12:1-4a God calls Abram at 75 to leave his country and kindred. “I will bless you to be a blessing.”

Psalm 121 
I lift my eyes to the hills. My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. The Lord will be your shade. The sun will not strike you. The Lord will keep your going out and coming in forevermore.

Romans 4:1-5, 13-17 
The promise rests not only on the adherents to the law, but to those who share the faith of Abraham.

John 3:1-17  
Nicodemus comes to Jesus in the night. Born again.
Matthew 17:1-9 
– The Transfiguration

Lent 3A – March 11, 2023CLICK HERE for a post on Lent 3A

Exodus 17:1-7 Moses brings water out of a rock at Massah and Meribah.

Psalm 95 
The Venite: O Come, let us sing to the Lord, let us shout for joy to the God of our salvation.

Romans 5:1-11 
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ… We boast in our sufferings, for suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character… While we were weak, Christ died for the ungodly.

John 4:5-42
The Woman at the Well. “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

Lent 4A – March 18, 2023CLICK HERE for a post on Lent 4A

1 Samuel 16:1-13 Humans look on the outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart.

Psalm 23 
The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.

Ephesians 5:8-14 
Live as children of the light. Sleeper awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

John 9:1-41 
– Healing of the Man Born Blind

Lent 5A – March 25, 2023CLICK HERE for a post on Lent 5A

Ezekiel 37:1-14 – The Valley of the Dry Bones. I am going to bring you up from your graves, my people.

Psalm 130 
Out of the depths I cry to you.

Romans 8:6-11 
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

John 11:1-45 
– The Raising of Lazarus

Passion/Palm Sunday – April 1, 2023CLICK HERE for a post on Palm/Passion Sunday A

Matthew 21:1-11 Procession with Palms– The Triumphal Entry

Isaiah 50:4-9a – Game face: I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting… therefore I have set my face like flint…
Psalm 31:9-16 
– In you, O Lord, I take refuge. Let me never be put to shame. I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. I have passed out of mind like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.
Philippians 2:5-11 
the Christ Hymn. Have this mind among you that was in Christ, who emptied himself, and became a servant, even unto death on a cross.
Matthew 26:14 – 27:66
The Passion. Judas’ betrayal. Peter’s denial. Pilate. Barabbas. Jesus’ crucifixion and burial.
Matthew 27:11-54 
 The Passion. Pilate. Barabbas. Jesus’ crucifixion and burial.

Maundy Thursday – April 5, 2023CLICK HERE for a post on Commanded to Love, Maundy Thursday A

Holy God, source of all love, on the night of his betrayal, Jesus gave us a new commandment, to love one another as he loves us. Write this commandment in our hearts, and give us the will to serve others as he was the servant of all, your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14  The command to celebrate Passover. This month shall mark for you the beginning of months.

Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19 I love the Lord because he has heard my voice and my supplications.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 
Paul’s understanding of Holy Communion. I received what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night when he was betrayed, took a loaf of bread…

John 13:1-17, 31b-35 The washing of the disciples’ feet and the new commandment to love one another.

Good Friday – April 6, 2023CLICK HERE for a post on Good Friday B

Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12 The Song of the Suffering Servant. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…

Psalm 22 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Hebrews 10:16-25 I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more. New covenant.
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 
– Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, let us hold fast to our confession.

John 18:1 – 19:42 John’s passion: arrest, trail, crucifixion.

Easter A – April 9, 2023CLICK HERE for a post on Easter A

Acts 10:34-43 – Peter’s sermon. God shows no partiality. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. They put him to death on a tree, but God raised him up on the third day…
Jeremiah 31:1-6 
 – I have loved you with an everlasting love. I will build you again. Vineyards will once again be planted in Samaria.

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 – On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Colossians 3:1-4  – So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is.
Acts 10:34-43 
– Peter’s sermon. God shows no partiality. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. They put him to death on a tree, but God raised him up on the third day…

John 20:1-18 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb… Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Matthew 28:1-10
But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.