Preparing for Lent
In Lent the tone of our worship becomes more somber and penitential, in keeping with the emphasis on reflection in preparation for Jesus’ suffering and death. We omit the opening hymn and begin worship with the Penitential Order, read before the ministers enter the sanctuary. We also substitute the Kyrie (“Lord have mercy”) for the hymn of praise. In Lent we omit all “alleluias”. All of these customs emphasize the solemn and introspective tone of the Lenten season, as do the simpler furnishings on the altar, and help remind us of our need for God.
In the early Church, the season of Lent was the time when catechumens (candidates receiving instruction) prepared for baptism, and fasting was a means of identifying with Jesus’ forty days of fasting in the wilderness. The practice of setting apart the days of Lent by giving something up, (apart from Sundays, which are always feast days,) has long been part of Christian spiritual practice. In keeping with the same tradition, increased study of and reflection on Holy Scripture is an appropriate and helpful spiritual practice during the days of Lent, as is additional giving of ourselves and our resources to those in need.
Lenten Practices & Resources
Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John: Have you ever wished to deepen your relationship with God? To experience a warm friendship with God? Maybe even fall in love with God – again – or for the very first time? Starting in Lent 2018, the Society of Saint John the Evangelist offers a six-week Lenten journey through prayer and reflection on The Gospel According to John. Find out more. This series will begin on Sunday, February 11, 2018, in time for Ash Wednesday 2018. Hard copies are available outside the office or sign up now to get updates on this series.
Wednesday Chapel Services: Join us in All Saints Chapel for Holy Eucharist on Wednesdays in Lent at 9 a.m. starting February 14. Each week will feature a different meditation and will be followed by coffee in the office.
Lenten Adult Forum: Beginning February 18 and continuing through Lent on Sundays at 9:00 in the lower level Parish Hall in the 'fireplace room' to discuss Are We There Yet?: Pilgrimage in the Season of Lent by Marek P. Zabriskie. You can purchase the book on Amazon for $7. Interested? Contact Elise Schlaikjer at firstname.lastname@example.org or just come!
The Great Spiritual Migration: 'Christianity needs to change,' says Brian McLaren. 'It needs to migrate from a set of beliefs to a way of life based on the love of Jesus Christ.' That's the focus of his recent book, The Great Spiritual Migration: How The World's Largest Religion Is Seeking A Better Way To Be Christian (Convergent Books, 2016). When the church takes seriously the shifting spiritual needs of people, it becomes a place for pilgrims to gather to find healing, hope, purpose, and meaning. A Lenten program will take place on four Tuesday Nights, from 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., in the Community Room downstairs of 2nd Congregational Church, 16 Court Square, Greenfield.
Lent Madness (The Saintly Smack Down): Based loosely on the NCAA basketball tournament, Lent Madness pits 32 saints against one another in a single-elimination bracket. It is also a wildly popular online devotional designed to help people learn about saints. Here’s how it works: on the weekdays of Lent information is posted at www.lentmadness.org about two different saints. Each pairing remains open for 24 hours as participants read about and then vote to determine which saint moves on to the next round. It all ends when the winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo. For folks who may not want to participate in the program online, pick up a Saintly Scorecard—The Definitive Guide to Lent Madness 2017 outside the office and learn more about the saints (coming soon). You’ll still be able to follow who is winning in the tournament. Just see the large poster posted on the bulletin board for an update. This all kicks off on “Ash Thursday,” February 15th. If you’re looking for a Lenten discipline that is fun, educational, occasionally goofy, and always joyful, join the Lent Madness journey. Lent needn’t be all doom and gloom. After all, what could be more joyful than a season specifically set aside to get closer to God?
Stations of the Cross: If you are interested in walking the stations of the cross, feel free to do so whenever the church building is open (generally from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m where the archway entrance is kept unlocked). You can access the stations by entering the church thru the side altar door. Booklets to guide you are available near the baptismal font, next to the first station hanging on the wall.
This Lent we are committed to helping our brothers and sisters in Syria.
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