Lent, a time of New Beginnings

On Wednesday March 1, Ash Wednesday, we enter into the season of Lent which in many ways is a season of new life, new beginnings. Repentance is traditionally the word most associated with this season and if we understand what the term really means, we can embrace it as an avenue to new life. You may have heard me say once or twice (or perhaps more as I seek to remind myself), Repent means to turn or turn around. Sometimes we need to turn away from things or practices that harm our relationships with ourselves, our God, or others. Other times we need to be more intentional about turning toward God who nurtures our lives. It brings to mind the words from Ezekiel 18, “For I take no pleasure in the death of any one, declares the Lord God, Turn then and live.” I think most of us desire new life so what would prevent us from choosing it, from moving in the direction of coming closer to God? The picture that comes to mind is standing in a very crowded place, such as a concert, the line into a World Series playoff, a subway in a big city. In such settings it becomes very difficult to turn or even move at all.

Our lives can become like that – crowded with concerns, material goods, addictions, fears, responsibilities, the opinions of others, you name it -whatever it is that crowds us so much that turning and living seems beyond our capacity. Lent is a time to create a space so that we can connect with God, listen to the One who often calls to us in a quiet voice, to remember the Christ who came and was willing to give his life as he showed us how to live.

On Ash Wednesday we are invited to the observance of a Holy Lent, “by self examination and repentance, by prayer, fasting and self denial; and by reading and meditation on God’s Holy Word.” Outlined below are a number of opportunities to help us find our way. The purpose is not to take on a number of practices that lead to depletion and suffering by the time we are half way through the season, but to ask ourselves,
What has to go or what can be embraced so that we may turn and live?”
What will help us return to the One who loves us more than words can say?”

Let us begin together.

In Faith,

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Ash Wednesday Services March 1, at 12:00 or 7:00 pm
Tell people outside the parish who may have been away from the church and are seeking a way back, or for those who are seeking a church home

Sunday Morning Christian Formation 9-9:45 am
• 5 Marks of Love: Living Life Marked as Christ’s Own
Presented by the Monastic Community of the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE)

In this series we will be examining and reflecting on the ways in which God’s Life and God’s Mission express themselves in and through us. Inspired by the Anglican “Marks of Mission,” we will look for signs of God’s presence and activity in our lives, in our communities, and in the world around us. Each week we will explore one of the “Marks,” using short daily videos, thought-provoking questions and activities, and prayerful discussions to reflect on what God is doing in our lives and in our world.

Wednesday Evenings During Lent beginning March 8
• 5:30 Centering Prayer
• 6:30pm. Eucharist
• 7:00pm Dinner in the Parish Hall
• 7:30-8:30pm Dr Roy Heller Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at SMU Perkins school of Theology

Dr. Heller’s teaching specialties are Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, biblical Hebrew, narrative criticism, ancient Near Eastern languages and literature. His class will focus on the Old Testament scriptures for each coming Sunday during Lent

Morning of Reflection, Saturday March 18, Parish Hall 8:30am-12:00pm
How to Find the Water in your Well, presented by Janet Lumpkin
Sign up in the Parish Hall

Fridays–Stations of the cross at 12:00 begins in the Church. Followed by the sacrament of Reconciliation. Both Mother Joy and Fr. Ray will be available See the Article below for an explanation and history of this healing rite

Episcopal Relief and Development Sunday, March 5 Pray for those living in Poverty and victims of conflict and disasters. Consider making a generous donation to Episcopal Relief and Development .

ERD Lenten Devotional books daily readings to increase our awareness of the suffering of others available on the table in the Parish Hall

Rector’s Tuesday Morning Book Study 10-11:15, Begins March 7 – We will read Barbara Crafton’s Living Lent, Meditations for these 40 Days, Morehouse, 1998

Episcopal Public Policy Network – Put your concerns for the most vulnerable among us into action by contacting eppn@episcopalchurch.org This agency sends out alerts and suggestions about how to really make a difference in public policy

Lent Madness! – Learn about the Saints Sign up online for the Saintly Scorecard which is actually a devotional that provides biographies of 32 saints. Thirty two saints are placed in a tournament-style single elimination bracket Each pairing remains open for 24 hours and people vote online for their favorite saints We will keep track of the “contest” with a poster in the Narthex. By the end of lent we will discover which saint receives the “Golden Halo” According to Forward Movement the saints show us that they, like us are flawed human beings through whose lives Christ’s love shone brightly. If this love can shine brightly in their lives, perhaps we too can be beacons of the Good News” Join Lent Madness on its website www.lentmadness.org and stay tuned for more details in The Doubter

Holy Week -Invite Folks you know to join us for any and all of our activities during Lent and Holy Week . Pick up one of the business sized cards (shown below) advertising Ashes to Go and our Holy week services These will be available starting at our Mardi Gras Party in the Parish Hall.

• Attend Holy Week services as listed below
• Seder Meal – Tuesday of Holy week April 11 is contingent on volunteer sign up. Please help if you can on the clipboard in Parish Hall or on bulletin board This event will be cancelled if we do not have enough volunteers
• Bishop Sumner will be with us on Wednesday of Holy week, April 12 to celebrate the Eucharist and to give a talk from 7-8pm on Christian and Islam Connections through the ages