What is Lent?
The name Lent comes from an Old English word meaning "spring" reflecting the simultaneous reawakening of the earth. The forty days of Lent begin with Ash Wednesday culminating in Maundy Thursday and Good Friday leading up to the Easter celebration of the resurrection. To quote the Book of Common Prayer, in preparation for the Paschal feast, Christians observed "a season of penitence and fasting" (BCP, pp. 264-265) as a preparation for Easter life. Lent was also a time when those wishing to be baptized were instructed and prepared, making it a season for formation, deepening, and renewal. All Christians are invited "to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer and fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word" (BCP, p.265).
How do we, the St. Paul's community, plan to observe this Lenten season?
At the heart of Christian practice is our worship. Indeed, this commitment is embedded in our baptismal vows: Will you continue in the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the prayers? I will, with God’s help. Here we join with Christ to worship God and be renewed in Spirit. This Lent we are invited to recall the origins of our worship and the meaning of the actions, prayers and symbols of the Eucharist. To support this intention, we will begin the Sundays of Lent with a very simple service modeled on the earliest liturgies we can recover, and with a bare sanctuary. Lent 2 we will celebrate the same service using the language of the Book of Common Prayer, and add a little music. Beginning with Lent 3 we will expand to our usual service, incorporating just a few elements from Taize and Iona worship. Also on Lent 3, the Altar Guild will ‘dress’ the sanctuary as the service opens, so that all may appreciate the service they give so graciously. During some services, there will also be a brief teaching on an element of the service.
Individual practice: what feeds you spiritually?
For many years Lent was known as a time for giving up things, famously chocolate. More and more, people have come to see it as a time to take on a new practice, or let go of something unhelpful in their lives. The Lenten question is: What will open your heart and feed your soul? Reflect on what you need in your life spiritually at this time. There are classic choices such as adding meditation or prayer, reading the Bible, or service to others. It could also be very personal, for example a commitment to yourself and to God to address a barrier in your life, challenge your self to take a new risk, etc. We will be praying for each other. Each day during Lent, we will receive a prayer and short of list of names via e-mail.
The Brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Boston are offering short daily videos (2 min.) presenting meditation topics with title, It’s Time To…Stop, Pray, Work, Play & Love. To participate, sign up at www.SSJE.org/time.
Our community practice for Lent
· Coffee hour is our precious time, not just for sharing food, but more importantly, for welcoming visitors, and connecting with each other about our lives. This Lent, we are invited to share with each other about 'how were you fed spiritually in this past week?’
· We ask our community to recommit to donating food for those who are hungry in our community. The food will be collected in the parish hall and coffee hour will begin by blessing the donations.