We have found ourselves in the season of Lent. Gone are our celebrations of the Nativity, Epiphany, and the revelry of Mardi Gras. Now, we are hearing familiar hymns and prayers that call us into a time self-reflection and a season of asking for God’s forgiveness. Undoubtedly, we will ask ourselves, and others, what we are “giving up” like candy, soft drinks, or meat. Others might say that they are “taking on” a spiritual discipline such as doing Morning or Evening Prayer. A few days into Lent and I believe that all of us ask the question, “Am I doing this right?”
Lent is more than just giving up our favorite food or drink. It is a time of repentance, but it is also a time of renewal. The season affords us an opportunity to take a spiritual inventory to ask those pointed questions about our relationships with God, friends, spouses, children, co-workers, etc. While we are sorry for our wrongdoings and want to strive to do better, this season offers us renewal and hope in Christ. The renewal can happen through prayer, receiving the word and Sacraments, and joyfully responding to God through works of mercy to others. Our renewal of faith helps us in our daily lives and prepares us “with joy for the Paschal feast” with Christ in heaven. (BCP, p. 379)
This Lent, I want to invite people into conversation, within families and among friends, about what Lent is and how we can do more than just “get through” this season. I want to encourage us all to slow down and gather with our families and friends and with God. These can be short moments, but they can be holy times with loved ones. To help with the conversation about Lent we have some study materials available for parishioners of all ages. We have Upon this Tree (for our young), Faithful Facts for Lent (for our youth and adults), and the Journey Through Lent poster (for all ages). These are great tools to get us thinking about the season, the people in the story of Jesus, and ways in which we can become more faithful Christians in word and deed. These are great tools for families to use in your worship time at home.
Again this Lent, our Sunday morning worship will change to Rite I. This is an opportunity to hear the rich language that harkens back to The Episcopal Church’s 1928 Prayer Book liturgy and back to the English Reformation. Sunday afternoons, we will have worship in the chapel. These services are designed to be more quiet and contemplative. The chapel is a beautiful and intimate space where we can focus on God and worship Him. On Wednesdays, we will have Holy Eucharist in the chapel at 11:30 a.m., noon concerts, and then a great lunch. All of these opportunities are great ways to work on our repentance and renewal this season and to prepare us for Easter and beyond.
So here we are in the season of Lent, in a time of repentance and renewal for individuals, families, and our Cathedral family. It is my prayer for all of us, that we use this gift of Lent, and God’s grace, to learn more about God and ourselves and to ready ourselves for Easter and beyond.
Have a great February and Lent, and I hope to see you at church!