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McFarland Lutheran Church

Seasons of the Church


Advent is the season of repentance, hope and expectation anticipating the fulfillment of the rule of God in Christ's coming in the future. At McFarland Lutheran, there is a sense of expectation and joyful longing as we await Jesus' birth in Bethlehem and God's promised reign through Word and Sacrament, color, art and music.

As the days grow shorter and the nights longer and darker, we wait for the promised light. On the first Sunday in Advent we focus on the second coming of Christ and the church's vigilant waiting for his appearing. The second and third Sundays present the person, ministry and herald of Advent, John the Baptist. The fourth Sunday looks forward to the birth of Christ.

Our Advent call is to prepare the world for Christ's coming, now and at the end of time. Come, Lord Jesus.


Here at McFarland Lutheran, Christmas is a time to celebrate the event of a birth in Bethlehem through Word and Sacrament, color, art and music. More than just a birthday, Christmas proclaims the advent of messianic salvation. It is Incarnation Gods Word becoming flesh, full of grace andnt. It is a time for celebra truth and dwelling among us.

Christmas is God's celebration: "Joy to the world!" for God has established a new realm, a new age in Jesus Christ. Sing to the Lord a new song, for God has done marvelous things. We joyfully celebrate this incredible act of God's love. Christ has come into the world as the light no darkness can overcome. Our Lord has come!


Epiphany means appearance or manifestation of God. It has its roots in the words for sunrise or dawn. Completing the joyous celebration of the twelve days of Christmas, we rejoice in the new possibilities and hope in Christ manifested at Epiphany. The grace of God appeared in Jesus bringing salvation to all. Through Epiphany we celebrate the appearance of the Lord in the midst of humanity through Word and Sacrament, color, art and music. We follow the Wise Men to the star and rejoice in the showing forth and spreading of that light.

As the days begin to lengthen, we rejoice in the dawning and the rising Light in darkness, stability amid chaos, and assurance amid anxiety. Epiphany not only discloses the Savior to the world but also calls the world to show forth Christ and to be witnesses to God's true light. The timeless mystery of the Incarnation, God in flesh, leads us forth to show and tell of Christ as God's gift of grace and salvation for all humankind.

Baptism of Our Lord

When Jesus was baptized by John in the waters of the Jordan, a voice from heaven declared: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." On Baptism of our Lord Sunday we also remember Jesus' entry into public ministry. The celebration of the Baptism of our Lord closes the festivities of the Christmas season, and leads us into the 'Ordinary Time' of the Sundays after the Epiphany.


Here at McFarland Lutheran Lent is a time of preparation for the celebration of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and ends as we begin the Triduum (the 3 days-Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil) of Holy Week. Lent is a time of repentance and reflection on the quality of our faith and life. It is a time to meditate prayerfully on the meaning of Christ's suffering and death for our salvation. And, it is a time of self-discipline in which we concentrate on the importance of amending our sinful lives.

The word Lent comes from the middle English lente (springtime) and the old Anglo-Saxon word lengten (the time when days grow longer). Lent is the holy springtime of our souls, a time for preparation, planting and growth. During Lent there is a special emphasis on Holy Baptism. In short, Lent is a time for us to affirm who we are, and whose we are.


Here at McFarland Lutheran, our Lenten journey from ashes to death to resurrected life begins on Ash Wednesday. This first day of Lent reminds us that we must acknowledge and confront our mortality. We symbolize this through the placement of a cross of ashes on our foreheads with the words: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return." The ashes we wear remind us that one day each of us will die.


While the period of Lent is one of solemnity, the Sunday lessons present not defeats, but a series of victories beginning with Jesus temptation. During Lent we hear of the power and possibility of the paschal mystery, and that the way of the cross, the way to Easter, is through death. To receive the new life which is beyond the power of death, we must die with Christ. New life requires a daily surrendering of our old selves. We let go of the old order so that, in Christ, we may embrace the new. In order to embrace the resurrection, we must experience the passion of Jesus. The liturgies of the Sundays of Lent pry us loose of our securities and continually plunge us into the baptismal waters. The lessons and liturgies for these weeks take us to the heart of the Christian message that whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Here at McFarland Lutheran Church the Sundays in Lent are a time to contemplate the Passion of Christ, a time of self-examination and repentance, and a time to grow in faith and grace. While it is a somber time of remembrance, it is also a time for joy and rejoicing, for we are saved through the death and resurrection of our Lord.


Here at McFarland Lutheran Church we celebrate Holy Week with all of its mystery, passion, wonder and awe. Holy Week begins with the Sunday of the Passion and culminates with the Easter Vigil. We celebrate through Word and Sacrament, art and music the great things that were accomplished during these days. Holy Week is more than just a week of mourning; it is also a time in which we prepare to celebrate Christ's victory over death.


On this day our worship begins with Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. And then the focus turns to the passion narrative and the drama of salvation.


The three sacred days of the Triduum, Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Holy Week , are seen as one celebration in which we commemorate the mystery of redemption. None is complete in itself - all three join to relive the account of Jesus' passion.


Maundy is an English form of the Latin word for commandment. Jesus gave this commandment on the eve of his death,


�Love one another even as I have loved you� John 13:34

Maundy Thursday is the night of the last supper that Jesus had with his disciples. It is also the night he washed his disciples feet, saying after he had done so:


�Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me �Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.� John 13:12-17

Maundy Thursday is the night in which Jesus not only washed his disciples feet, but he also later lifted up the bread and the wine and celebrated the Lords Supper. Maundy Thursday is the night of Gethsemane - the night of anguish of soul as Jesus faced his betrayal and fast approaching death.


Good Friday is an important part of the celebration of the mystery of salvation. It is a solemn time of reflection, intercession and adoration. We gather to remember and celebrate the Lord's sacrifice on the cross. Here at McFarland Lutheran our first observance of Good Friday begins in the afternoon, the traditional time of Jesus' passion and death. In the evening we continue our observance of Good Friday with Prayer Around the Cross, a powerful experience of prayer and laying on of hands brought to us by our brothers and sisters in mission from Puerto Rico.


The Vigil of Easter closes the Triduum (The 3 days). This most holy night is the solemn remembrance of the central mystery of salvation - Christ's saving death and mighty rising. Here at McFarland Lutheran church our worship is a shared experience which begins at dusk at St. Stephen�s Lutheran Church in Monona

The fullness of the Christian faith and its roots in Judaism are eloquently expressed in the Vigil, for this is the Christian Passover. And behind that Passover lies the general experience of humankind in the wonder of new birth in the springtime, a death and resurrection. In its deepest sense, this celebration is not the festival of an individual, but of a people: the heroic and victorious deeds of Christ were accomplished not for himself but for the people of God, and ultimately for the whole human race.

The vigil is in four parts


  • the Service of Light in which the new fire is struck as a visible sign that Christ who proclaimed himself the Light of the World and who at Easter arose and conquered sin,
  • the Service of Readings which presents a review of the whole history of salvation,
  • the Service of Baptism centering on water; for through the waters of Baptism sin is drowned and we are washed and made new children of God, and
  • the first Eucharist of Easter.


With singing we mark the dramatic transition from darkness to light. The church is at its brightest, the candles appear, bells fill the air with joy and the shouts begin,Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!


On the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find his body. He is not here, for he has risen as he said.


With these words, we begin the festive celebration of the resurrection.


When Christ was crucified, humanity died with him on Calvary. But as Easter dawned, a new world was born; a new age began. Easter, the paschal mystery, accomplished our salvation - the salvation of all human beings of every time. The resurrection of Jesus is a glorious revelation of the future and a new order. On Easter, God displayed his radical new world about which we can only dream, and draws us toward a future salvation for which we wait with patience.

Here at McFarland Lutheran Church, we celebrate this central day in the life of the church with great festivity. The church is filled with Choir music, brass accompaniment, flowers and people as we celebrate the new creation, for the old age has passed away; everything has become new! As God's people, we share in this gift of the newness of life.


The Easter season begins on Easter and continues for 50 days. Within this period, we celebrate not only the resurrection, but the Ascension of Our Lord, and the day of Pentecost


Ascension is the celebration of Jesus' return to the Father after his resurrection. Jesus and the disciples went to the Mount of Olives where he reminded them that everything in the law of Moses would be fulfilled. He blessed them, withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. With the Ascension, the earthly ministry of Jesus comes to a close. From glory in the Father, to suffering, to glory again is the shape of Jesus' ministry. Through Jesus, we too, will one day join the Father in heaven.


On Easter evening, according to John, Jesus stood among the disciples and said: Peace be with you. He showed them his hands and his side and said: As the Father has sent me, so I send you. Receive the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father. In Pentecost, Word and Spirit are forever linked. The Spirit is the source of the Word, the Word reveals the Spirit. Word and Spirit now guide us, for the love of God has been poured into our hearts. As the Father sent Jesus, we too are sent, for as a spirit-filled community, we proclaim the Word as God's new people, and open our eyes and hearts to the needs of others. The color of the day is red. With the Pentecost gift of the Holy Spirit, our celebration of the 50 days of Easter ends.


Following the Easter Season here at McFarland Lutheran Church we enter into the time set aside as Ordinary Time: Sundays after Pentecost. We use this time to focus on spiritual growth, renewal and continuing witness to the living Lord who makes all things new. The Sundays after Pentecost do not center on one major event or theme; rather it is a time used to celebrate the good news of Christ's birth, death and resurrection and presents us with many opportunities for spiritual growth, renewal and witness to the living Lord who makes all things new. The color for the Sundays after Pentecost is green.

During Ordinary Time we also celebrate Holy Trinity Sunday, Reformation Sunday, All Saints' Sunday, and Christ the King Sunday.


Trinity Sunday is the only one which centers on a doctrine rather than an event. Holy Scripture reveals God to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Triune God is the basis of all we are and do as Christians. We were baptized in the name of the Triune God, and our discipleship is rooted in the mighty acts of the God who is active in redeeming the world. The color of the day is white.


On Reformation Sunday we celebrate Jesus Christ as the foundation of our faith. We give thanks for Martin Luther's contribution to the Christian faith. We celebrate this joyous festival through Word and sacrament, art and music. The color of the day is red.


On All Saints' Sunday, we remember and give thanks for our God in heaven and all who have died and gone before us. We celebrate and look forward to that day when in heaven we shall enjoy the vision and presence of God forever. We rejoice in all who, throughout the ages, have faithfully served the Lord. The color of the day is white. Here at McFarland Lutheran we toll a bell while the names of those who have died are announced.


Christ the King Sunday focuses on the crucified and risen Christ, whom God exalted to rule over the whole universe. As the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, Christ is the center of the universe, the ruler of all things, the judge of all people. In Christ all things began, and in Christ all things will be fulfilled. Christ will triumph over all. This celebration of the lordship of Christ brings to an end the Sundays after Pentecost and the Church Year. The color of the day is white/gold. This day also points us to a new year and to Advent, the season of hope and the birth of Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

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