From Your Priest:
Once again, we find ourselves beginning the forty days of Lent. As you may recall, Lent comes from the Middle East word meaning either "lengthen" or "spring," in which the days will be getting longer and longer. In the Church, this is a time of preparation for the death and resurrection of our Lord. We are called "to observe a holy Lent through the personal and corporate self-examination and repentance by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; by reading and meditating on God's holy Word (BCP, page265)."
It has sometime been seen as a time of self-deprivation and sacrifice-a time of "giving up" something for Lent or, in more recent times, "by taking on" some new resporsibility for Lent. The consistent theme, regardless of the details, has been a desire for the people of God to recall Jesus' forly day fast in the desert and to be intentional about utilizing the season in whatever way is most usefi.rl to each of us. We adopt spiritual disciples in order to be more attentive to the light of the Holy Spirit within us. We
examine our lives and repent those things which prevent us from growing closer to God.
According to these words of wisdom from Henri Nouwen,
"Lent is the most important time of the year to nurrure our inner life. It is the time during which we not only prepare ourselves to celebrate the mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus, but also the death and resurrection that constantly takes place within us. Life is a continuing process of the death of the old and the familiar, and being rebom again into a new hope, a new trust, and a new love. The death and resurrection of Jesus therefore is not just an historical event that took place a long time ago, but an inner event that takes place in our own heart when we are willing to be attentive to it. True repentance is an inner attitude in which we are willing to let go of everything that presents us from growing into spiritual maturity, and there is hardly a moment in our lives in which we are not invited to detach ourselves from certain ways of thinking, ways of speaking, ways of acting, that for a long time gave us energy, but that always again need to be renewed and recreated.
Lent offers a beautiful opportunity to discover the mystery of Christ within us. It is a gentle, but demanding time. It is a time of solitude but also community; it is a time of listening to the voice within, but also a time of paying attention to other people's needs. It is a time to continuously make the passage to a new inner life as well as to live life with those around us.
When we live Lent attentively and gently, then Easter can truly be a celebration during which the proclamation of the risen Christ will reverberate to the deepest place of our being."
As we approach Holy Week and Eastertide, I hope you will find ways to enrich and deepen your faith journey. Our Wednesday Stone Soup Lenten study and soup and salad supper and our adult Sunday school study on "Benedict's Rule of Life" are some of the opportunities for you, but there are many others in our life together. May you and those whom you love have a meaningful and enriching Lent and a glorious Easter!
In Christ's love,