As Christians prepare for Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent on 6th March, I hope and pray that each of you will take the opportunities seriously. At the very least, see Lent as an opportunity to strengthen simple habits of faith.
Pray in the morning and evening, and set aside five minutes every day to be quiet in the Lord’s presence. Go to confession and receive the Holy Communion frequently.
Lent is a penitential season leading up to Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. The 40-day period of preparation provides believers an opportunity to grow deeper in faith. It is meant as a time to recall one’s baptism – doing it in solidarity with those who will be baptized into the church on Holy Saturday and Eastertide.
Penance and forgiveness
Traditionally, many Christians “give up” something during Lent in the spirit of sacrifice – a favourite meal or television show, for example. Many others do something “extra” during the season such as visiting a sick neighbour.
All are encouraged to attend Mass on Ash Wednesday and receive ashes on their foreheads, symbolizing mortality and a call to turn away from sin.
On Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent, Anglicans older than age 14 are obliged to abstain from meat. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, those 18-59 should fast, which means taking only one full meal (or two smaller meals not to exceed one meal) and only liquids between meals. The size of the full meal or the two smaller meals depends on the individual’s physical needs. If someone’s health may be seriously affected by abstaining or fasting, he or she is excused from the obligation.
Some people believe there is no such thing as ‘Confession’ in the Church of England. Well, there certainly is – it’s even in the Book of Common Prayer! Why not take advantage of opportunities for receiving the sacrament of reconciliation during Lent. Just speak to Fr Andrew.
As every year, there will be opportunities for study, to learn more about the Christian faith and to grow in discipleship.
Each Wednesday evening there will be a Bible study.
During Lent there will be extra opportunities for devotion to The Lord. Each Sunday evening there will be Stations of the Cross.
See the pew sheet for other opportunities too. For example, what about spending some time in quiet prayer during the regular ‘slot on a Wednesday evening?
Serving the poor
In keeping with the practice of almsgiving, our parish and will provide opportunities to support the poor. Not least will be the ‘Lent lunches’ each Friday around the various churches of our locality. There will be fellowship and a simple meal the proceeds of which will go to charity.
On Maundy Thursday there will be a special ‘Sacrificial collection,’ for a local charity. The idea is that at the special collection, as we go with Jesus to his sacrifice, we make a special one-off gift that will be a real sacrifice. That is to say not a little that we won’t notice, but an amount that will be a real sacrifice, meaning there is perhaps something we will be unable to do which we might otherwise have enjoyed.
What a lot there is to do in Lent. What will you choose?
Love and prayers,