Rachel Fitch, Pastoral Resident

King cakes, pancakes, roses, chocolates, and ashes – it is going to be a full week!  This Wednesday we begin the season of Lent, the six weeks of penitence in which we reflect on Christ’s life and Christ’s death.  During this time, we prayerfully prepare for the remembrance of Christ’s crucifixion, for the sitting in the darkness of Holy Saturday, and the joy of light breaking through as we remember Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.

We invite you to join us this week and this season as we observe a Holy Lent.

We will have an Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday evening in the sanctuary as we have the traditional imposition of ashes.  This receiving of ashes is a centuries long tradition.  It relates to the biblical practice of wearing sackcloth and putting on ashes when one was mourning.  The ashes that are traditionally used for Ash Wednesday, come from burning the palm fronds that were used in celebration of Palm Sunday the prior year.  If you have attended a service before, you might remember the words, “you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  Interestingly, this comes from Genesis 3.  After Adam and Eve have eaten of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil their lives change.  Women will now experience pain in childbirth and men will toil in the land to grow food.  Genesis 3:19 names, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  This verse is a reminder of the sinfulness of humanity and our need for God.

So, starting on Wednesday, we enter into this time of reflection and prayer.  We invite you to join us that day and throughout the season as we draw nearer to God.  We will have a 24-hour prayer vigil on Ash Wednesday and again on Holy Saturday.  You can sign up for a spot online and you can gather in prayer with others, each praying from our own homes, yet united in a continuous chain of prayer on these holy days.  We also invite you to join us on Wednesdays at noon in the sanctuary for an hour of prayer.  These will begin February 21st and go through Holy Week.  In addition, there will be a prayer calendar that has been put together by members.  We hope this resource will be a gift to you this season as it invites you to pray for different ministries of the church and provides prayer prompts so that we may grow in faith together.

As we begin this week, I invite you to join me in some of these practices as we observe a Holy Lent.