Dear Cathedral Family,
The journey of Lent begins in the wilderness on this first Sunday in Lent, as we begin to follow Jesus through his earthly ministry toward Jerusalem and the cross, and we begin our own individual daily walk in memory of his.
If you follow “Brother Give Us a Word,” the brief daily devotional of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, you have seen that their first word for Lent is wilderness. The wilderness is the place in life where we struggle, and where we need God’s support, guidance, and blessing. The “provocation” for this word is to ask where you are struggling in your life and what it would mean for you to go deliberately into that wilderness struggle, trusting that God waits for you there.
I hope that each of you has reflected and prayed this week about what your Lenten discipline will be, what challenge you might undertake as part of your self-examination and preparation during this season. This email contains some suggestions and links for resources you might find helpful in your Lenten journey.
Our Sunday worship during Lent will follow the Rite One form from the Book of Common Prayer, as it does every year. We do this for several reasons—not just because it seems more “penitential.” We do it to remember who we are as Episcopalians, what our tradition has shaped us into being, and part of this remembering involves confronting language that may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable for us. We do it to step out of our usual comfortable practice and to ask ourselves, “What does this mean? What does this say about who we are and what we believe?” We do it also because it joins us to the spirit of the traditional ritual worship that is described in this week’s reading from Deuteronomy—and to the statement of confession and belief in Paul’s Letter to the Romans. We do it so that our children will experience more of their tradition and their faith.
In my Ash Wednesday sermon, I referred to the present war in Ukraine, and we will continue to pray for peace and for all the people of Ukraine, Russian, Europe, and the world. In this email you will find information about how Episcopal Relief and Development is helping in this crisis and a link to how you too can help.
Our united prayers are especially important in this Lenten season.