Welcome to Lent 2022
In a short time, on Wednesday, March 2nd, we will hear the following words in the “Proper Liturgy for Ash Wednesday” from the Book of Common Prayer:
“Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a
season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, 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. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.” (BCP, 264 – 265)
The passage above from the BCP with its “notorious sins” and “separation from the body of the fellowship of the Church” can feel ominous and foreboding. Conversely, the ideas of fasting and self-denial (“This year I am giving up chocolate for Lent”) can almost sound like New Year’s resolutions to diet and exercise which by February are often forgotten.
Lent is an importance season in the life of the church and isn’t meant to be taken lightly but we should not forget the joy for which we are preparing, the “reason for the season” if you will.
One of the Proper Prefaces for the season of Lent captures this:
“You bid your faithful people cleanse their hearts and prepare with joy for the Paschal feast; that, fervent in prayer and in works of mercy, and renewed by your Word and Sacraments, they may come to the fullness of grace which you have prepared for those who love you.”
We are called to prepare with joy for the Paschal feast! Cleansing our hearts through a variety of practices: intentional prayer, works of mercy, reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word. These are all ways we are called to observe Lent. So, I would suggest, if I may, that this Lent we worry less about giving things up and more about adding things to our lives to enrich and deepen our connection to our faith. Let these 40 days of Lent be a time to experiment with opening up more space in your daily life for expressions of your faith, knowing that the space you have opened will be filled with the glory of our risen Savior at the Paschal feast.
A blessed Lent to you all.
Worship at St. Gabriel for Ash Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022
9:30 am Rite I Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes in-person and online via Zoom
11:00 am- 12:00 pm “Ashes to Go” Drive-Through upper parking lot at church- call 503-645-0744 to let us know you are here or make a reservation
5:30- 6:30 pm “Ashes to Go” Drive-Through upper parking lot at church- no reservation needed
7:30 pm Ash Wednesday Liturgy without Holy Communion in-person and online via Zoom
Lenten image from media.istockphoto.com