It seems like Lent always manages to sneak up on me. Every single year. As you likely know, this season begins on Ash Wednesday (which is February 17th this year) and runs for a period of 40 days until Easter. (The Sundays don't count. That's how you make the math work. Every Sunday is a feast of the Resurrection.)
Lent is traditionally a time of penitence, during which we are reminded of our mortality and brokenness -- both as individuals and as social systems. This year, however, it seems like death has been all around us, and that will make Lent feel a little different for me. Perhaps, with the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, it might be fruitful to see this Lent as a time to prepare ourselves to finally celebrate Easter since we did not really get to do that much last year.
Here are some resources to help with your own Lenten journey:
We will return to in-person worship beginning on Ash Wednesday with one service at 6pm. It will be a Holy Eucharist with the imposition of ashes. It will be livestreamed (on Facebook or YouTube -- not Zoom!) for those who are unable to attend or just not comfortable returning yet. For those watching remotely, you are encouraged to pick up a container of ashes at the church on Tuesday or Wednesday to use at the appropriate point in the service. Please just call first to ensure that the building is open. Our in-person worship will continue on the Sundays after Ash Wednesday, with one service for now at 9:15am. Please remember that we require masks at all times and that household groups must space 10 feet apart.
Our formation program during Lent will be based on A Spring in the Desert by Frank & Victoria Logue. We will learn about Christian virtues through the dual lenses of Scripture and the Desert Mothers and Fathers. It just seems appropriate right now to draw on the wisdom of those who found God in a barren place. You can join us in-person after the church service or on Zoom. You don't need to have read the book since we will be using a companion video series by the authors.
- I will once again be available to hear private confessions during Lent. In our Anglican tradition, we believe that all Christians are able to confess their sins directly to God and receive forgiveness. However, we recognize that some people find their consciences burdened and need to hear the words of absolution spoken directly to them by a priest. Our mantra for this is "all may, none must, some should". All confessions are kept absolutely secret. Feel free to contact me directly to make arrangements.
The Living Compass produces an excellent devotional booklet every Advent and Lent. You can download a free PDF in English or in Spanish.
Church Publishing (the publishing arm of The Episcopal Church) has produced a free guide to Lent and Easter for families which is full of great activities to do at home. You can download it here.
Episcopal Relief & Development (the branch of The Episcopal Church devoted to fighting hunger, poverty, disaster, and disease both domestically and around the world) has produced a series of Lenten meditations based on the theme of lament. As they note, we have all faces so many losses in this last year and may not have had time to grieve them all. You can download the free PDF in English or in Spanish.
Finally, the brothers of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastic community in Massachusetts, is offering weekly videos with different ways to pray through Lent. You can sign up for their emails on their website.
I wish you all a holy Lent, and look forward to celebrating Easter with you.