Beloved Is Where We Begin: Lent in 2018 at Highland

Jan Richardson ArtBeloved Is Where We Begin

It was late October 2017, and Highland’s Worship Ministry Group was at Gethsemane for a day-long retreat. The day away from our busy lives held time to be together, to pray, and to work for this current Lenten season

We invite you to join in the forty days of the Liturgical Year known as Lent— the forty weekdays from Ash Wednesday until Easter, April 1, observed by Christians as a season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter. Lent is a season of soul-searching and reflection, originating in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism. By observing the forty days of Lent, we imitate Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days.

Lenten Devotions and Resources

The poetry and blessings of Jan Richardson found in her book, Circle of Graces, will be included in our Sunday morning worship services. Ms. Richardson is also a gift artist and her art will be on our Sunday bulletins. To enrich your Lenten journey, you will receive an email each Sunday evening with the artwork of Ms. Richardson from the morning bulletin, as well as a new poem for your personal reflection. Additional resources of daily devotionals, spiritual disciplines, worshipful practices, theological reflection, and children’s resources can be found here.

Worship During the Lenten Season

Lent One, Sunday, February 18
Jim England, Proclaimer
Mark 1:9-15
Sanctuary Choir: Show Me Thy Ways, Walter Pelz

Lent Two, Sunday, February 25
Jim England, Proclaimer
Mark 8:31-38
Sanctuary Choir: Sometimes a Light Surprises, arr. Alfred Fedak

Lent Three, Sunday, March 4
Holy Communion celebrated in all weekend services
Jim England, Proclaimer
John 2:13-22
Sanctuary Choir: In Peace, in Peace, Through Christ the Door, text by Susan Paolo Cherwien

Lent Four, Sunday, March 11
Jim England, Proclaimer
John 3:14-21
Sanctuary Choir: God So Loved the World, Bob Chilcott

Lent Five, Sunday, March 18
Jim England, Proclaimer
John 12:20-33
Sanctuary Choir: Deep Within, David Haas; When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Dan Forrest
Highland’s Orchestra in the 9:30 and 11:00 services

Palm Sunday, March 25
Lauren Jones Mayfield, Proclaimer
Mark 11:1-11
Sanctuary Choir: Glory to the King! Sing Hosanna!, Handel
Sanctuary Handbells in all three Sunday morning services

Maundy Thursday, Thursday, March 29, 7:00 p.m., Fellowship Hall
A time of meditation on the story of Jesus and his betrayal. The time together is a simple, moving service of communion, hymns, scripture, and hand washing, which will prepare us for the gripping Good Friday Service.

Good Friday “Way of the Cross: A Walk for Justice”, Friday, March 30, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Sponsored by Highland’s Mission and Justice Ministry Group, a 1.5 mile walk beginning at the Mazzoli Federal Building on 7th and Chestnut will stop at 14 locations throughout downtown, reflecting on economic inequality, justice in health, care for the earth, the death penalty, the plight of immigrants/migrant workers, poverty and homelessness, racism, and many more.

Tenebrae Service, Friday, March 30, 7:00 p.m., Sanctuary
The Service of Darkness based on the ancient word Tenebrae (shadows) commemorates Christ’s suffering and crucifixion through music and scripture. The service culminates in the removal of the Christ candle. Highland’s Sanctuary Choir provides the music for the service.

Easter Sunday, April 1, 8:30, 9:30, & 11:00 a.m., Sanctuary
Jim England, Proclaimer
Sanctuary Choir: O Risen Lord, K. Lee Scott
Join us for this time of celebration and joy as the Sanctuary resounds with singing, choirs, and instruments. The Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed! Hope and joy burst into our world as we see the power of Love over hate, Life over death.


Childcare is provided for birth through pre-kindergarten for all Holy Week activities except for the Good Friday Walk for Justice Event. If you are in need of childcare for your infant, toddler, or preschooler for our Maundy Thursday or Tenebrae service, RSVP by Wednesday, March 21, to Renee Purtlebaugh by clicking here.


2018 Lenten Refrain: Beloved is Where We Begin

Seasonal refrains have become a unique feature of worship at Highland. These refrains are intended to serve as short reminders of a larger theme in the life of the Church while also being specific to our faith community. The combination of music and text aids the mind in retention and allows the refrain to serve as a mantra of sorts that can be easily recalled after our formal worship has ended on Sunday mornings. Musically, the text is always the inspiration. In our current Lenten refrain, the falling notes of “Beloved” are intended to follow the natural stress of the word. Going to a higher note on the final syllable would give unnatural stress to the that syllable. Similarly, in the second phrase, “bound together on the winding way,” the notes of the melody wind up and down instead of following a simple contour. In the final phrase, the winding notes are recycled to give a feeling of continuity while keeping “Love” as the highest point and focus of the phrase. The final phrase also includes a measure with more musical beats than any of the others, 6 instead of 4. This is intended to musically express that while we are “facing forward” with love as our focus, there is some uncertainty as to what the future holds.  ~ Austin Echols

I’m not sure when Kathy or Austin first asked me to write words for a refrain for Highland, but it has been a joyful and rewarding challenge over the past several years. I love the thought of giving words to my congregation in their personal and communal journeys of faith. Austin’s ability to set the words to music is phenomenal and hearing the refrain sung together in worship is such a sacred moment:  inspiring, energizing and life-giving. When given the opportunity to write something, I usually set aside some quiet time to reflect and think about the assignment. I look at other writings, Scripture, hymns or poems that could help shape my thoughts. I think about words and ideas that might resonate with our faith community and jot them down. After I get a few solid lines, I ask Robert and others for feedback. In the case of the Lenten refrain, Kathy and the worship ministry group gave some helpful input. I then do some editing and send Austin my top 1 or 2 ideas to see what he thinks. After we make some adjustments, he takes it from there with his excellent and sensitive musical writing skills. And voila! a new refrain is born! For me, it is truly a labor of love.   ~ Cheryl Davis


Artwork is used by permission © Jan Richardson. (