The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, continues for six and a half weeks and climaxes on Easter Day.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry explains it, in part, like this:
“Lent has two quite remarkable bookends. On Ash Wednesday, we are reminded that we are dust and that God loves us even in our dustiness. At the end of this season, we will celebrate the power that God’s love has to transform this world.”
I love the “bookends” metaphor. Picture a bookshelf with The Book of Ash Wednesday at one end and The Book of Easter Day at the other end. At that rate of a book a day, there would be 45 other books on that Lenten shelf. What are all those other books about? Should we be reading them? What if we don’t read them?
Over centuries, Christians have observed Lent as a season of penitence and fasting in preparation for Easter. The days of Lent have offered us a time to be on a journey or a pilgrimage, both physically and in our minds and our hearts.
More recently, we have revisited the season’s origin as a final preparation of adult candidates for baptism, hence a time for all of us “to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” (Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, p. 265).
This Lent at St. John’s Episcopal Church, I am encouraging our entire congregation to participate in reading, meditating and sharing our stories via a wonderful little book provided to us by Episcopal Relief & Development, simply called Lenten Meditations 2019. Here’s how to participate:
- Come to church at 10 a.m. this Sunday and get your free copy (one per family), read each day’s brief meditation, then join me on Sunday, March 10 and all Sundays in Lent at 9 a.m. in the Parish Hall to reflect on our reading and share our Lenten stories.
- If you can’t join us every Sunday, feel free to come whenever you can make it.
- If you are unable to pick up your copy, you can download a free pdf version at this link: https://www.episcopalrelief.org/uploaded/files/Church-In-Action/Church-Campaigns/Lent%202019/2019-Lent-lores_w_cover.pdf