Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and extends right up to Easter morning. It is 40 days long commemorating the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness prior to beginning his ministry here on earth. Lest you all get out your calendars and start counting, don’t worry it is 40 days as we do not include Sundays as they are considered mini-Easters. The observation of Lent began in the Christian church about the 4th century coinciding with the Council of Nicea and is observed to this day by most reformed protestant (that’s us) and Roman Catholic denominations. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial. In early days and in some traditions today, this time of preparation for new believers culminated in baptism on Easter Saturday. Today many continue to observe Lent as a period of reflection and a time to draw closer to God. Also observed in many cultures is a festival – Mardi Gras here, other names in other places – the day before Lent begins. It is called Shrove Tuesday (coming from the word for absolve) and is a last celebration before 40 days of self-denial and reflection.
This year Ash Wednesday is February 10th and we will have two Ash Wednesday observances:
Noon – a contemplative service with imposition of ashes and Holy Communion – all are invited.
6:00 pm – Family (that means everyone) Ash Wednesday Worship: Getting Ready to Bear Crosses.
We will start with a great pancake supper – a time of feasting, laughing, and playing in God’s presence and then move into a brief time for quietly thinking and praying – we will consider what it means to bear a cross and how this may not be exactly how that phrase is often used in today’s language. This will be an appropriate, fun and interesting time for all ages so please plan to be there!
And YES we do need volunteers to set up and make pancakes (we will all clean up).