We have passed the halfway mark in Lent as I write these words. If your life is anything like mine, Lent has been sneaky this year: the earliness of this year's Easter date has meant that I was not fully aware of Lent for almost two weeks! But now my Lenten devotional materials have finally arrived, at the convenience of the U. S. Postal Service, and I have begun to focus in earnest on the historical personages who figured in the events surrounding Jesus' journey to Jerusalem and his Passion. I hope that you are able to include these meditations in your personal devotions, as they will enrich your experience of these last days approaching Holy Week and Easter.
In the new podcast that Johnny Gwin and Stacy Wellborn are producing in Lent, "Pulpit to Pew" (P2P), Johnny and I have been talking about Lent as a time of preparation for receiving the great Good News of the resurrection at Easter. Each week after worship, we discuss the sermon, the readings for the week, and our own experiences of living the gospel in daily life. This new adventure has been inspiring and thought provoking for me-and a lot of fun! The link for each week's episode, along with Johnny's "Sabbadoodle" and my sermon appear there as well. The episodes are short and painless. Please give a listen.
We have some additional worship opportunities during Lent that are also great aids to preparation. The Lenten Music programs at noon on Wednesdays this year have been outstanding, each providing a wonderful moment in the middle of the week for reflection and wonder. Holy Eucharist in the chapel precedes these at 11:30 a.m., and lunch follows in the Chapter House. On Sunday afternoons at 4:00 p.m., we celebrate Eucharist in the chapel using a short contemporary format and quiet music.
Please note worship opportunities coming up during Holy Week, as this is a very special time of making ready. Some new services will take place this year. On Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. we will host the renewal of ordination vows for the clergy of the diocese; this is a traditional form of devotion for ordained persons during Lent. Clergy present will have lunch in the Chapter House following. That evening at 5:30 p.m., we will have Tenebrae in the chancel. This is a new addition for us, and it will involve beautiful music and readings from scripture to accompany the gradual extinguishing of light as we move closer to the last days of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
Our Bishop will be with us for his first Easter celebration at his Cathedral, making an always glorious day even more memorable. May you be blessed in your preparing for that day.