If we think of the church year as a whole, there are four Sundays to prepare for Christmas—the first Sunday of Advent, the second Sunday of Advent, and so on. There are six Sundays to prepare for Easter, yet they’re not the first Sunday of Lent or the second Sunday of Lent. Instead, they’re the first Sunday in the season of Lent, the second Sunday in the season of Lent, and so on.
Now that might seem like a very small point of grammar that only a writer could love. But pastor and professor Wayne Brouwer says:
This is an important fact to note. In Advent, Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, the Sundays belong to the season. They are Sunday of. . . .But during Lent, the Sundays are not part of Lent. The forty days of the season flow around the Sundays, calling us to share the journey of suffering with Jesus. The Sundays themselves, however, are islands of mercy, reminding us that Jesus is alive and forever victorious. – Wayne Brouwer, The Day God Got Lonely
I’ve never heard the Sundays during Lent described as islands of mercy before, but that’s a lovely image and a reminder that “Jesus is alive and forever victorious.”
For the rest of this article, please see my guest post on Godspace: You Are My Hiding Place. Or listen to my full sermon:
For more encouragement and resources on doing ministry better: