While people often give up something for Lent, the Rev. Jason Northridge sees the 40-day season as a time to focus.
"It's my hope we take a special focus on our faith lives and try to clean it up and drop things we're doing that are not vital or helpful to our lives," said Northridge, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church at 28 N. 3rd St. in Mount Wolf.
The pastor said his church will hold an Ash Wednesday service at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in preparation for the Lenten period, which people traditionally observe with fasting, prayer and repentance to prepare for Easter, one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar.
Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe to be the son of God who came from heaven to earth to die on a cross for the sins of the world.
"We really need to focus on what Christ's journey to the cross means for our lives," Northridge said.
For lent, St. John does more "simple services" with less music, so people can focus more on the songs' words than on melodies, Northridge said.
"The service is more of a focus on who we are," he said. "We focus more on what we're doing, what we're saying. We make the service more contemplative and a little more subdued."
The Rev. Ramona Kinard, pastor of Wheatfield Church of the Living God in York City, said her church will be attending the local Black Ministers Association's Ash Wednesday service at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bible Tabernacle Christian Center, 361 S. Pine St. in the city.
The Lenten season is a time to take an honest and spiritual assessment of oneself in order to know what things are necessary to change one's life, Kinard said.
"Let's see what we overindulge in or what we need to let go of," she said. "Let's add to our lives the fruit of the (holy) spirit. It's the fruit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, temperance, which is self control. Have the compassion of Christ in giving to others who can't give you anything back."
The Rev. Guy Dunham, pastor of Chanceford Presbyterian Church in Airville, said his church will be going to Lenten services at various churches in the community.
Lent is a journey in which observers can focus on the life and death of Jesus, on how to love and react to their enemies, and on how do deepen their faith, Dunham said.
"We can continue to grow in our faith through devotional life, worship and by finding new ways to serve," he said. "We can help a neighbor, a friend or even a stranger by meeting their need without them having to ask."
—Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.