Lent: Holy, Transformative, and Joyful by the Rev. Will Compton

On Ash Wednesday, we are all invited “…in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent (BCP 265).” To help in the observance of a holy Lent and to mark this season, 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. All of this we offer to God and to remind ourselves that God desires to be in relationship with all of us.

There are also changes to our worship which will make this season more palpable. Some of these changes are mandated in the Book of Common Prayer while others are auxiliary changes that further highlight the themes of the season. The Alleluias disappear. 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 be different as well. At the end of the service, a prayer for the human family will be said and a solemn prayer over the people will replace the blessing.

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 we use in our worship will be replaced by more mundane items such as the cross over the altar, the processional cross, the offering plates, and the chalices. I hope these changes help you in your walk this season as we prepare to make our way to the cross and ultimately the empty tomb.

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 and receive the laying on of hands. What the healing service offers is healing, wholeness, and peace 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 come to the healing service.

Finally, Lent is about relationships. Lent is about our relationship with God and with each other. There is no better way to explore these relationships than to make our Lenten marriage enrichment class a part of your discipline as well. It will meet on Wednesday nights from 6:00-7 with supper and childcare provided. If you are interested, please let Will or Ben know.

We hope your Lent will be holy, transformative, and joyful. That’s right, I said joyful. Though Lent by nature is more of a quiet and penitential nature that does not mean we are not joyful in our repentance. 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. Happy Lent!