Lent begins on March 6. More specifically, there will be a service with imposition of Ashes at 7pm on Wednesday March 6, here in Alplaus. We have invited our friends from Scotia to come and join us for this service. The season of Lent will then continue for 40 days (Sundays not included). Holy Week is the last week of Lent and we will be joining our friends at Scotia for a Good Friday service (7pm Friday April 19).
But what is Lent? How should you plan to participate, or experience Lent? To quote the UM Book of Worship… “Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten, which means “spring.”… [The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms tells me that lencten referred to the lengthening of days in spring.] …The season is a preparation for celebrating Easter. Historically, Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by converts and then became a time for penance by all Christians.” You may be familiar with the practice of “Giving Up something for Lent” – choosing an act to abstain from and using the time or funds that would have been spent on that action and contributing it to your pledge. You may be familiar with a newer option of “Taking on a Spiritual Practice for Lent” – which is exactly what you might imagine – adding to your regularly scheduled life a daily time for personal prayer or service for others during the season of Lent. Some folks engage in one or the other of these options – other folks choose to do both while still others choose neither.
During Lent – Sundays don’t count! Again from the UM BOW… “Because Sundays are always little Easters, the penitential spirit of Lent should be tempered with the joyful expectation of the Resurrection.” Traditionally – the Sunday service “gives up” Alleluias for Lent.” At Alplaus, as I prepare and plan, I hold to both the “no Alleluia” tradition and the “Sundays don’t count in Lent.” The former is done obviously (without Alleluias), the latter is a bit more fun – last year I tossed chocolate and candies to folks who answered questions during the Sermon. What will I do this year on Sundays in Lent? Come – begin the journey with us on Ash Wednesday 7pm. Know that you are welcome and invited to participate in all of the somber and expectant preparations of Lent.