Each year, because Easter falls on a different day, according to the first full moon after the vernal equinox, Ash Wednesday falls on a different day as well. This year both Ash Wednesday and Easter fall on days that are designated by popular culture for something else: Ash Wednesday shares the calendar with Valentine’s day, and Easter with April Fool’s Day!
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, when we allow ourselves to have ashes in the shape of a cross placed on our foreheads. This marks a time of repentance and contrition, as we remember that we humans came from humus, the dust of the earth. During Lent, we sacrifice certain things, or add a spiritual discipline. But it all begins with the imposition of Ashes.
This year, the Imposition of Ashes will take place at 7:00 am, a short 30 minute service that includes ashes and communion; at Noon, which will include music and hymns; and a new way of doing ashes in the evening: Between 5:30 and 6:30 pm, I will be in the driveway to give ashes to those who cannot make either service, and those in our neighborhood who do not have time to attend church on Ash Wednesday. This is called Ashes to Go, and has been a meaningful experience for many both in our diocese and around the country. The negative is that there is no communion, no opportunity to worship together; the positive is that we have an opportunity to reach out to more people, even in just a few moments, to impose ashes, and to pray for each person that comes through.
Beginning the first Sunday of Lent, we invite you to join us for the Forum, a short discussion during coffee hour focused on a particular book. This year’s book is called Radical Renovation: living the cross shaped life. Over the Sundays of Lent, we will discuss what it means to live as a disciple, to order our lives within the shadow of the cross. More about this study and other opportunities for Lent are found inside the pages of this newsletter.
Along with the Lenten study, we offer a sermon series called Confronted by the Cross in which we hear a story each week about one of the witnesses of the cross, and of Jesus’ ministry. I hope you find these offerings of value as you continue your walk with God.
Our faith begins at the point where atheists suppose it must be at an end Our faith begins with the bleakness and power which is the night of the cross, abandonment, temptation and doubt about everything that exists! Our faith must be born where it is abandoned by all tangible reality; it must be born of nothingness, it must taste this nothingness and be given it to taste in a way that no philosophy or nihilism can imagine. – HJ Iwand —