On this day, we are all invited “…in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent (BCP 265).” To help us observe a holy Lent, there are changes in our personal lives. We give something up such as sweets, sodas, candy, or something else we enjoy. We may take on a discipline such as reading a book, exercising, or engaging in a variety of forms of prayer.
There are also changes to our worship. Some of these changes are mandated in the Book of Common Prayer while others are auxiliary changes. The Alleluias disappear. The Confession is moved to the beginning of the service. The Gloria (Glory to God in the Highest) will be replaced by the Kyrie (Lord, have mercy). We will switch to Eucharistic Prayer D and the Prayers of the People will change as well. Instead of the usual priestly blessing at the end of the service, a solemn prayer over the people will be said. Also, at the 5p service in Lent, we will have Jimmy Turner, a classic guitarist, provide contemplative music throughout the service.
Notice as well, a change to the aesthetics of our worship. There will be no flowers and the color of the season will change to sackcloth which is a symbol of repentance. Also, the more ornate items in our worship will be replaced by more rustic items such as the altar cross, the processional cross, the offering plates, and the chalices. These changes in our worship set the tone for this season of Lent.
Lent is a time when we do more. We may “do more church” during this time or we may “do more prayer.” The Chapel of the Cross is offering a variety of ways to help you do more during Lent.
First, I invite you to come to the Wednesday healing service at 5:30. In fact, make it a part of your Lenten discipline. Lent is a time of healing and wholeness. That is what the healing service offers. You do not have to be sick to attend a healing service. What the healing service offers is wholeness, peace, and perhaps even rest which is what God wants for all of us. Furthermore, Lent is a time of quiet. If this is something you need more of in your life, again I invite you to make use of our healing service.
Another offering during Lent at the Chapel will be the Stations of the Cross. Usually we walk the stations on Wednesday in Holy Week. This year, we will walk this ancient pilgrimage each Friday at 6p. Our outdoor Stations of the Cross is a gift here at the Chapel of the Cross and is a great way to literally walk a holy Lent.
Finally, we will offer contemplative prayer at 6:20p each Wednesday in the Chapel. Contemplative prayer is a great way to center yourself, to just let go, and as the Psalmist says “to be still and know that I am God,” in this season of Lent.
We hope these forty days will be holy, transformative, and joyful. That’s right, I said joyful. Though Lent adheres to a more quiet and penitential tone, that does not mean we are not joyful. After all, the word Lent comes from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “Spring” and when we tend to think of Spring we think of new life. We hope that is what you ultimately receive during this season, new life in Christ as we make our journey towards the empty tomb. Have a happy, joyful Lent!