Lent and Holy Week at St. Paul

Lent and Holy Week at St. Paul

Return to the Lord Logo

In the Book of Joel, the prophet paints a vivid picture of the coming judgment of God, the Day of the Lord. The imagery is bold and terrifying: hordes of locusts swarming over the land and decimating everything. Joel’s prophecy has teeth even today as wars rage, natural disasters threaten and destroy, and our culture seems to be unraveling. But right in the middle of this frightening portent, we find a tender invitation from the Lord: “Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and He relents over disaster” (Joel 2:13). God’s invitation and promise finds its fullness in Jesus Christ, who personifies and accomplishes all that God declares. During this season of Lent, we will consider the theme “Return to the Lord” and examine how the call to return played out in practical ways for the people who walked alongside Christ as He demonstrated and carried out God’s grace and mercy on our behalf, taking God’s wrath upon Himself, setting the stage for God to “turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him” (Joel 2:14).

Schedule of Services

  • February 17 at 5:30PM – Ash Wednesday Divine Service
  • Feb. 24, Mar. 3, 10, 17, 24 at 5:30PM – Midweek Vespers
  • March 27 at 5:30PM & March 28 at 9AM – Palm Sunday Divine Service
  • April 1 at 7PM – Maundy Thursday Divine Service
  • April 2 at 7PM – Good Friday Tenebrae Vespers
  • April 3 at 7PM – The Vigil of Easter
  • April 4 at 7AM – Easter Sunrise Service at the Dubuque Arboretum*
  • April 4 at 10AM – Easter Festival Service at church (Registration required)*

*Note: these services will include congregational singing with masks and social distancing.

About Lent: The season of Lent is a 40-day period beginning on Ash Wednesday (March 6) and concluding on Holy Saturday (April 20). The 40 days exclude Sundays, which are seen as celebrations of the Resurrection of Christ. Throughout the season, and even on the Sundays within it, the prevailing theme is repentance. In church, we omit some of the more joyous elements of the service like the hymn of praise (“Glory to God in the Highest” or “This is the Feast”) and we refrain from the joyous exclamation, “Alleluia,” (meaning “Praise the Lord”).  The readings focus our attention on all that Jesus has accomplished for us, from defeating the tempter, to establishing a new covenant, to bringing us to repentance and forgiveness, and bringing us from death to life. It all culminates in Holy Week as we recount how Jesus worked our salvation in his death on the cross, and his Resurrection on Easter. The word “Lent” comes from an old English word for “Spring” and is seen as a time of spiritual growth for Christians. Traditional practices for the season include increased times of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.