Lent is the season of preparation – forty days plus six Sundays – leading up to Easter. Lent calls us to self-examination, penitence, humility, and renewal. It is a time to concentrate on fundamental spiritual values and priorities, not a time for self-punishment.
Throughout Lent, our worship services take on a simpler tone. The songs are more subdued; the liturgy is more penitential; the word “Alleluia” is not used. This Lenten way of worship encourages reflection and simplicity.
Many Christians mark the season of Lent by giving up something. Busyness plagues us all in our culture: giving up television, or taking one day a week to “fast” from email, can be a powerful Lenten discipline. Others choose a traditional fast from specific foods or drink. Others change and curtail spending habits.
But relinquishment is only the first half of a true Lent. Letting go of one thing creates capacity to take hold of another – so fasting paves the way for more prayer, or more generous giving to the poor, or more enjoyment of simple opportunities for “soul rest.” During Lent some people rededicate themselves to more consistent daily Bible reading or disciplined prayer. Others take a course of spiritual study. This year at All Saints, we are offering a special Lenten Discipleship Group,beginning Monday, February 20 at 7 p.m. The class will read and discuss Christopher Jamison’s book Finding Sanctuary, exploring together lessons and practices from classical monasticism.
Special services punctuate Lent. We begin with Ash Wednesday, February 22: an abbreviated 12:00 noon service and a full Eucharist at 7:00 p.m. (Childcare offered at both.) On March 18 we will observe the Stations of the Cross in a Prayer Service in the late afternoon. Lent reaches a climax with Holy Week services – Palm Sunday (April 1), April 5 Maundy Thursday footwashing and Eucharist (7:00 p.m.) and the April 6 Good Friday service (7:00 p.m.)
Lent is also an especially appropriate time for a service of personal confession. Confession to a priest is not required, but for many, making a confession to a priest can be a powerful time of spiritual reconciliation and healing. Please contact Rector Steve Breedlove or Associate Rector Thomas Kortus if you would like to meet for a service of personal confession and reconciliation.
Finally, during Lent we will be preaching through the Letters to the Seven Churches in Revelation. Throughout the season, the Sunday Sermon Notes insert will include questions for further study and prayer. Use them personally, with your 242 group or with friends or family members.
We pray that God will use this 2012 Lenten season to draw us into greater intimacy with himself and to form us into a truer likeness of his Son.