A Holy Lent
This Sunday is the Last Sunday after the Epiphany. It’s the last time we say Alleluia until Easter, the last Sunday for a song of praise to begin the service, the last Sunday the priest says a blessing over the congregation, the last Sunday for flowers in our worship spaces, and, in the region I call home, the frenzied last weekend of Carnival, Mardi Gras, where revelers indulge before Ash Wednesday ushers in the beginning of Lent.
In our overscheduled world of next-day delivery, of ramping-up spring athletics, and commodification of busyness, Lent can get lost, and these next 40 days look just like the 40 days before. So I would invite you, as the prayer book does, into the observance of a holy Lent, a time set apart from the rest of the year when we look within and take stock of the ways in which we have walked away from God in the past 12 months; to reduce our reliance on the stuff we have used to fill the voids in our heart, the stuff that has taken the place of God when we have tried to do the filling ourselves, instead of allowing God to fill us in the way only God can.
Join us for Shrove Tuesday festivities next week, then turn around and begin the holy season with Ash Wednesday the following day. Pay attention to how the service changes on Sundays during these 40 days. Care for your soul at the Lenten Retreat on 4 March (see video below!). And exercise the discipline of self-examination this Lent, looking inward for the places that need God’s love and mercy most.