As We Enter Lent

Liturgically, this Sunday is the Last Sunday after The Epiphany, thus the last Sunday before Lent. The gospel reading for this Sunday is always an account of the Transfiguration (this year from Mark), that moment on the mountain in which Jesus was manifest to Peter, James, and John in all of his glory. This text serves as the climax of the Epiphany season and also anticipates Easter Sunday before we enter the season of Lent. Along those lines, if you still have your palms from last Palm Sunday, please bring them to church this Sunday, as we burn those palms on Monday and use the ashes on Ash Wednesday.

The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is often called “Shrove Tuesday” (from the word “shrive,” which means “to confess”) or Marti Gras (“Fat Tuesday,” because all of the fatty foods would be consumed before Lenten fasting). For several years on Shrove Tuesday we’ve had a pancake dinner put on by the youth group. The teens will be preparing and serving the food, and any money collected will go toward their summer trip to camp. The dinner begins at 5 p.m. and lasts for two hours. Please come anytime, eat, and be generous!

On Ash Wednesday we’ll have three services: one at 7 a.m., one at noon, and another at 7 p.m. The Ash Wednesday liturgy creates space for reflection on our frailty and our sinfulness, yet always reminding us that, in the words of the collect for Ash Wednesday, God “hates nothing [he] has made and forgives the sins of all who are penitent.” Please make an effort to participate in one of these services as we begin our Lenten journey together.

I’m hoping and praying that this Lent will be a time in which each one of us can acknowledge our own frailty and sin all the while experiencing the God who was pleased to take our sin and death on himself that we might have full, rich, abundant, and eternal life. In this way, Lent becomes a season in which we can experience the love of God in all of its beautiful depths.