May your Lent be gentle yet meaningful.
As I wrote here last week, this is my first Lent in the Episcopal Church since 1999. And it is, of course, my first Lent at St. John the Divine.
Different churches, even within the liturgical tradition, vary their practices in different ways for Lent. At St. John's the differences were primarily physical, and therefore visual. In the liturgy there was the addition of the Kyrie eleison, but otherwise it was what we've used since last autumn. Visually, however, things were decidedly different. There was a different cross, made of darker wood, heavier, with a rougher appearance. The candle holders on the altar were made of wood. The lectionary book's gold cover was hidden by purple cloth. The chalice was clay rather than silver.
And so the journey through Lent at St. John the Divine begins.
There were some wonderful thoughts out there yesterday for Ash Wednesday.
I really appreciated Fr. Phil's suggestion at St. John the Divine that "Remember that you are dust and that to dust you shall return" is not a morbid focus on our mortality, but is to help us to remember to cherish our life in our bodies, here and now, today.
At All Saints' Pasadena, Susan Russell said that we are not to give up social justice for Lent. That it is not about "giving up twitter or Starbucks or Girl Scout Cookies. It's about giving up anything that gets in the way of our being aligned with God's love and God's justice and God's compassion."
Watch the whole sermon. It will be well worth your ten minutes.
A blessed and meaningful Lent to you.
It's Ash Wednesday. Lent has arrived, as late as it is this year. This will be my first Lent in the Episcopal Church since 1999. Not that I expect anything unusual or different. I seek a Lent that is calm and, I hope, sprinkled with some insight. I look forward to a season free from angst. I say that because my spiritual crises seem to happen during Holy Week. That's when I realized that I couldn't keep commuting to All Saints', and that's when I realized that I couldn't stay at St. Stephen in-the-Field. My hope and expectation is for nothing like that this year.
For me, for this year, what's important is that I am back in the Episcopal Church and happy to be there.