On Ash Wednesday (February 14th this year, services at Noon and 7:00 PM), the liturgy includes an invitation by the celebrant to the “observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.”
There is certainly a kind of Lenten piety to which we are invited. The word “Alleluia” is absent from corporate worship services until the Easter Vigil. An introspective “flavor” is meant to allow us to reflect on our lives in ways which are meaningful to each of us in our own way. A focus on studying the Bible is especially appropriate in Lent.
Rev. Luther Zeigler invites us to join Episcopalians around the world in exploring the entire story of Jesus’ life as told by St. Luke and the earliest Christians and their encounters with the Holy Spirit found in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles (written by the same author as the Gospel of Luke). Two paperback books are available in the parish office to make the reading process as easy as possible, and a drop in discussion group facilitated by Luther meets in the parish library at 2:00 PM each Tuesday (beginning February 20th). What a great way to engage in Bible Study this Lent.
Along with the spiritually challenging aspects of Lent, I also believe there are aspects of our self-discovery which will remind us that in and through all things, the source of joy and hope is the presence of the Spirit within us. The great insight of the Society of Friends (commonly called Quakers) is the “inner light” which is within each of us – sometimes shining brightly for all to see, sometimes dimmed – and which is never extinguished.
As a parish community, we are in a transitional time when such interior reflection is especially valuable as we move forward together into what God might have in store for us in the months and years ahead.
I hope your experience this Lent is one of deep reassurance of the love of God at work within each one of us.