Lent, as its older name (Lengten) implies, is the season of spring, when the days begin to lengthen (at least in the northern hemisphere). In the Church, Lent is a season of forty days leading up to Easter. It is reminiscent of the 40 days Christ spent in the wilderness prior to the start of His public ministry. At this time, we examine ourselves, repent of our sins, and prepare for the Good News that, in his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has made it possible for us to live with God forever. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday (this coming Wednesday), so called because part of the liturgy includes marking the participants with ashes on their foreheads, asking us to recall that we are “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” We have no right to God’s regard except through the sacrifice of Jesus. This is very counter-cultural but profoundly true. Most of us think of ourselves, most of the time, as pretty good people. And in a sense we are. But all of us have made mistakes, been thoughtless or heartless to others, neglected the poor around us, neglected God.
God’s standard is not “pretty good,” but “perfectly holy.” He is not aloof in his goodness, he actively wants us to share it. He has not neglected our poverty, he has shared it, even sharing in degradation and death. What wondrous love is this! In order to understand this amazing love and care, come and join us on Ash Wednesday (at Noon or 7:00 p.m.). Throughout the weeks of Lent, we gather in special focus to prepare for the great culmination of this season. On Sunday’s we will have adult bible studies at 9:10am, before the 10:30am service. On Wednesday’s we meet for a simple meal, reflection and prayer at 6:30pm each week. From Palm Sunday – April 9 through April 16th we are immersed in the Holiest of weeks with special services and liturgies until Easter Day.
On the last day before the sober season of Lent, it has become popular to celebrate a party called Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), for example in New Orleans. We won’t exactly participate in wild revelry, but we will celebrate the Anglican version, known as Shrove (for striving) Tuesday, by serving pancakes starting at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome.
Blessings for a Holy Lent – Fr. Harley+ & the parish of St. Barnabas