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March 1, 2017, 1:39 PM

A word at mid-week, 3/1

Greetings, and welcome to Ash Wednesday Mid-Week and the beginning of the Holy Season of Lent!

Lenten Theme: "Return and Repent"

As we begin the season of Lent, you will note some changes to the sanctuary. First, the new Stations of the Cross are now in place. I will take opportunities during the season to teach on praying the stations. It is an ancient practice that incorporates meditation, recitation of prayers, and walking from station to station meditating on the suffering and death of Jesus. They can be prayed privately anytime of the year. We will "do" the Stations of the Cross communally on Good Friday. I hope you will enjoy this new addition.

Second, the Celtic green has been replaced by shades of violet, of which the deep shades of violet symbolize this penitential season. The vessels for Holy Communion are made of wood as are the candlesticks. The area around the chancel is adorned with copper, sand, sackcloth and ashes arranged to help create a visual stimulation of the theme, "return and repent."

Third, and hopefully most notable, is the placement of the Baptismal Font. You can't miss it! To enhance the theme of return and repent, the Baptismal Font "greets" you at the entrance of the Nave. Although our faith journeys begin long before we are even aware of it - slight nudgings, a bit of curiosity, a pulling away and a "I can't stop from moving in this direction" all characteristics of this journey - they culminate and are made visible in Baptism. Eventually and inevitably, our journeys lead us one way or another, to the Font. It is here, at this place, where our individual journeys join with others who are also making their own journey. It is here, in the common waters of baptism that we are marked forever as Christ's own.

Lent is part of that journey. Lent is a season when we focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God. Many people commit to a time of fasting and repentance, giving up certain types of luxuries or adding Lenten spiritual disciplines such as reading a daily devotional, or prayer through a Lenten calendar, to draw themselves near to God.

Lent sets the tone where we recognize our mortality, repent of our sins, and return to our loving God. We recognize life as a precious gift from God, and re-turn our lives towards Jesus Christ. We may make resolutions and commit to change our lives over the next forty days so that we might be more like Christ.

This turning or returning in our faith journey is known by the Greek term, metanoia. It is a word that means "a transformative change of heart; especially: a spiritual conversion." It expresses a fundamental change in thinking that leads to a fundamental change in behavior and our way of living. Throughout the 40 days of Lent, the season provides us with opportunities to withdraw from ourselves, to turn toward God, to lay aside the old, and to put on a new mind more deeply and richly in Christ. I invite you to this conversion, or turning again and will pray for each of you this season for a deepening relationship with God.

God's love to you all, Fr. Frank

As we mark the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday, we will be changing the service music: a Kyrie in place of the Gloria, different settings of the Sanctus and Fraction Anthem, and a new tune for the Offertory Hymn. So that these musical settings will become second nature to you, we will rehearse them before the service next Sunday(remember the change to ONE service at 10 a.m.). So after Fr. Frank rings the bell, don't tarry entering the church. We'll still have a minute or two for silent meditation after we rehearse together. I'm looking forward to it

Dale Caldwell

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