Here are some Lenten undertakings for you to help you as we transfigure “from glory to glory” in our journey with Christ:
The Apostle Paul: online or in-person course at the Cathedral. Every Wednesday, 7pm, through March. The instructor will be The Rev. Dr. Matthew Anderson, a Pauline scholar. Almost everything we thought we knew about Paul has now been proven wrong. I can’t wait to learn more. Simply send an email to The Rev. Katherine Walker saying you’d like to register: email@example.com
Book Study with Archbishop Anne: The book is Failure: What Jesus Said About Sin, Mistakes, and Messing Stuff Up by Bishop Emma Ineson. Available through amazon.ca (Kindle version, too). There will be one introductory evening session during Lent (March 9th 7pm to 9pm) and one evening session during Eastertide (Wednesday April 12th 7pm to 9pm). This will allow participants the opportunity to read the book during Lent and participate fully in the discussion during Eastertide. Everyone is welcome. Please register by emailing Liz Hamel at firstname.lastname@example.org so that she can send you the Zoom link for both online sessions.
Bible Study (Zoom): Each Monday evening, 7pm, through Lent. Our first gathering will be Monday, February 27. Led by The Ven. Dr. Jay Koyle. Please send an email to me requesting the link in order to join us: email@example.com
Lenten Lunches: 12pm – 1pm each Wednesday in Lent (i.e. each Wednesday in March). They will be held at Emmaus on Wellington Street since Zion is now renting out their hall. Our parish has been asked to provide soup and sandwiches on March 22. We’ll know how much food to provide after we see how many show up at the first couple of these lunches…
Ash Wednesday Mini Retreat: Refresh your soul and strengthen your relationship with God through Lent. We will explore what Lent is and why it is important to our faith. We will engage in some self-reflection to determine a focus for our lives through the weeks of Lent. Finally, we will immerse ourselves in the ancient monastic prayer style called lectio divina which has been described as “feasting on the word of God.I will guide you through an exploration and in-depth self-examination using one small but important piece of scripture: You are dust and to dust you will return. Gathering time: 6pm-6:15pm; retreat time: 6:15pm – 7:15pm; St. George’s (Wednesday, February 22).
Pancake Supper: 4pm – 6:30pm at St. George’s in Echo Bay. $12/adults; $6/10yrs and under; toddlers free.
The Coldest Night of the Year walk to end homelessness is this Saturday, Feb.25, St. Vincent Place on Albert St.; Check in begins at 4pm and the walk starts at 5pm. There will be a light meal served at 6pm.
The World Day of Prayer is Friday, March 3. Holy Trinity on St. Joseph Island is hosting a worship service at 2pm followed by refreshments. If there are other local services, please let me know so that I can pass along the information.
A Liturgical Note for You:
Hmmm…I think a number of you will be interested in this particular article from the Lewis Centre for Church Leadership: Stop Beginning Worship With Boring Announcements! The only thing you should talk about before worship begins is particular instructions pertaining to the liturgy – the less that is said in terms of direction and instruction during the liturgy, the better will be our worship experience. Announcements can come at the end as part of the sending of the church to reveal God’s kingdom in the world. Announcements should be connected to our collaborative work with God to reveal the kingdom and build up the body of Christ.
About the Special Days This Week:
Shrove Tuesday: The word “shrove” comes from the English word shrive which means to be absolved of your sins through confession and penance. Christians traditionally went to confession to be “shriven” the day before Lent began. It has come to be known more for its pancakes though because this is also the day when Christians used up all of their fats and other good food before the season of fasting began.
Ash Wednesday: Lent begins today. The colour of the altar and other hangings is violet/purple. The paschal candle is removed from the church today before your Ash Wednesday liturgies. It should not be seen again – except for funerals – throughout the entire season of Lent. The paschal candle re-emerges – preferably a new candle each year, actually – on Holy Saturday Evening at The Great Vigil of Easter. “Alleluia” is not sung or said during Lent even on Feast Days and at funerals. This isn’t because we are mournful or gloomy – Lent is a time of suppressed joy and excitement as we prepare ourselves for the greatest event of the Christian calendar…our passage into new life through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ! For the same reason, the Gloria is not sung or said during Lent and flowers are not placed in the church. All of the weekdays (not Sundays) are marked as days of discipline and self-denial to be observed, for example, with extra prayer and maybe doing without your favourite food. We’re saving ourselves for the big party after the Easter Vigil.
Ashes: On Ash Wednesday, we begin our Lenten journey with the ancient practice of marking a cross on our foreheads with ashes made from last year’s Palm Sunday palm branches. There are a few reasons why we put ashes on our foreheads on this day. First, in the bible, we find ashes used as a symbol of repentance. People throw ashes on their heads, sit in ashes, and even mix ashes in their food and drink. In our lives as Christians, we must continually repent (turn away from sin and turn toward God). Lent is the season through which we spent time in deliberate evaluation of our journey in Christ toward the awaited perfection. Secondly, ashes are a sign of our humanity and inevitable physical death: Remember you are dust and to dust you will return. Our bodies will return to dust until we are raised up by Christ. By receiving ashes and leaving them on our foreheads, we publicly proclaim our intent to die to our worldly desires and live even more in Christ’s image, which we focus on during the season of ‘rebirth’ that is Lent (a Latin term for ‘Spring’). Also, as with Adam – who was created from the dust – we are sinners and only have new life in Christ, the new Adam.
For Your Devotions:
Thursday, February 23rd is the memorial of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna who was martyred in 156. I find it really exciting that Polycarp is said to have been a disciple of John the Apostle. Polycarp fought against the heresy of Gnosticism (Gnostics believed salvation was attained through secret spiritual knowledge). The Gnostics had claimed Paul as their guiding influence but Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians very importantly reclaimed Paul for the orthodox church. Unfortunately, Polycarp was a victim during a Roman persecution of the Church. The pagan Roman governor tried to burn Polycarp at the stake but witnesses say the flames only formed a vault around him, not burning him. A Roman soldier was sent in to the flames to stab him. To read more: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Polycarp and p.86-7 of For All the Saints here: https://c2892002f453b41e8581-48246336d122ce2b0bccb7a98e224e96.ssl.cf2.rackcdn.com/ForAlltheSaints.pdf
Friday, February 24th is the commemoration of Philip Lindel Tsen, Bishop of Honan, died 1954 and Paul Shinji Sasaki, Bishop of Mid-Japan and Tokyo, died 1946. Lindel Tsen was born into poverty and was homeless by the age of 14. He overcame his circumstances to become educated, ordained, and the first Chinese bishop to attend a Lambeth Conference. Both men remembered today travelled to Canada to attest to the unity between their two churches (China and Japan) in spite of the war. After the war, Tsen was placed under house arrest by the communist government. Meanwhile in Japan, the government tried to force all protestant churches to join together as one. As leader of the Anglican church, Sasaki refused for several reasons but, most importantly, because the new united church did not accept the Apostles’ Creed. For his resistance, Sasaki was harassed, imprisoned, and tortured. To read more… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindel_Tsen and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Shinji_Sasaki