The season of Lent is one of the oldest traditions in the Church calendar.
In the early 3rd Century, Church father Irenaeus wrote about a time of fasting, penitence and self-denial building up to Easter. Irenaeus noted that a season of preparation had been observed since the time of the forefathers of the Church – possibly during the lifetime of the twelve Apostles themselves.
We continue that ancient tradition when Lent begins this year on February 26, Ash Wednesday.
At St. Alban’s, we will have three services on February 26 with Imposition of Ashes: Holy Eucharist at both noon and 7pm, and we will also have a special service for children (of all ages!) at 6pm. If you can’t make either service, you can also “drop in” the narthex that morning, between 7am and 8am, for “Drop-in Imposition of Ashes.”
The season of Lent is, indeed, a time when we give up and take on.
We give up those things which lead us away from God or create obstacles to being disciples of Jesus.
And we take on those things which are beneficial to us and to our relationship with God.
And so the time to be thinking of a discipline for Lent is now, before Lent. Spend some time and take a spiritual inventory. Scrutinize your spiritual life: What are my strengths and where am I weakest in my spiritual life?
Ask yourself the question, “What habit or way of living comes between God and me, and how can I strengthen and deepen my relationship with God and others?”
Resources for Lent
St. Alban’s has a variety of resources and programming to help make your Lenten observance more fulfilling.
Lenten Quiet Morning
Our Lenten Quiet Morning, from 8:30am to 1:30pm on Saturday, February 29, will give you a time and a place to get away from the busy-ness of our lives and spend some quiet time focusing on our relationships with God and with each other.
Wednesday Evening Lent Series
Our Wednesday evening “Soup, Salad, and Study” program kicks off on March 4th with a 5-week lecture series on the book of Hebrews. The Rev. Dr. Tony Lewis, retired professor of New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary, will take us on a tour through the unique New Testament book of Hebrews.
This series will serve as a complementary element to your own Lenten observance, preparing each of us for Holy Week with a deeper understanding of Jesus and his sacrifice. The book of Hebrews draws extensively on the Hebrew scriptures (the Old Testament) and presents a compelling argument regarding who Jesus is. Fr. Lewis is a well-beloved, remarkable teacher, and this series will indeed enrich your own Lenten journey.
As in previous years, our Wednesday evening program will include:
- 6:00 pm – Stations of the Cross (Nave)
- 6:30 pm – Soup supper (Parish Hall)
- 7:00 pm – The Book of Hebrews with Fr. Tony Lewis (Parish Hall)
- 8:00 pm – Closing Prayer & Dismissal
(Confessions will be heard beginning at 5 pm on Wednesdays, and by appointment, in the downstairs chapel.)
We are very excited about a new Lenten project at St. Alban’s: 19 of your fellow parishioners have helped us compile a book of brief Lenten devotional essays, one for each day of Lent. Your friends and neighbors in the pews have contributed their thoughts, prayers, and hopes around a different scripture passage each day. These Devotional booklets will be available in the narthex, and I think you’ll find that the readings to be a great way to start, or end, each day during Lent.
We’ve brought back the ever-popular “Lent Madness” books, which present a new bracket series for the 2020 “Saintly Smackdown.” Lent Madness is a great way to learn about Christians in ages past, and to see how they lived their lives as disciples of Jesus. You’ll find the bracket booklets in the narthex.
Love Life, Live Lent
You will also find in the narthex a limited supply of books for children and families from the series, “Love Life, Live Lent,” which offers age-appropriate actions for each day of Lent that help make the world a better place.