A Holy Lent: The Book of Common Prayer issues the following invitation: “I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent,Book of Common Prayer by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word” (p. 265). Does this mean that Lent is simply to be endured, a time to put aside the excesses of my life in order to accomplish a new goal – an exercise plan, weight loss, better eating habits, a more healthy life-style? As good as these goals are, they really don’t have anything to do with Lent. Lent, rather, is the Church’s annual retreat into the desert with Jesus where we encounter all the illusions we live by so as to see – perhaps for the first time – that true life is in God alone.

Historically, Lent was always about baptism: going down with Christ into his death and being raised up with him to new life. It was time when the Church prepared those who were to be baptized at the Easter Vigil: the new Christians were born in the waters of baptism and welcomed by a church community who had relived their own 40-day journey from death to new life in Christ. Thus, the entire Church experienced in ever new ways the truth that the deepest meanings of life are to be seen in Jesus own life, death and resurrection: how he willingly died to self so that others might live. The Lenten season begins on March 1, 2017, with the celebration of Ash Wednesday when we are signed with the cross of Christ, the same sign we were marked with in baptism, and the sign by which we promise to live the whole of our lives – freely giving life away in service to others so that they and the world might find new life in Christ. May you have a festive Mardi Gras and a wonderful Lent.

 


Epiphany’s Lenten Program will begin on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. We will celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 5:30 p.m. in the church. Following the service, we will gather in the Parish Hall for a light meal of soup and salad. Following our common meal together, everyone is invited to participate in the Lenten Program. This year, Fr. Matt will be leading us in a series of Biblical Meditations based on the book by Peter Van Breemen, S.J., entitled: The God of Our Deepest Longings. (Please Note: It isn’t necessary to buy the book unless you want to add it to your library.)    

  • March 8: First Meditation:        “What Are You Looking For?”
  • March 15: Second Meditation:  “Where Do You Live?”
  • March 22: Third Meditation:      “Becoming Transparent”
  • March 29: Fourth Meditation:    “Living From Plenitude”
  • April 5: Fifth Meditation:           “Jesus’ Suffering, Our Suffering”
  • April 12: Sixth Meditation:        “Shalom”
Following Fr. Matt’s presentation, we will be invited to delve more deeply into each session’s theme by reflecting on suggested Scripture passages as well as entering into small group discussion. In this way, group members become teachers to one another, following a personal, respectful, and engaged model of adult learning. Please sign up in advance if you are interested in participating in this year’ Lenten Program. We also need hosts to sign up to provide soup, salad and bread for the Wednesday meal.