"Preparing with joy for the Paschal Feast," is a Prayer Book description for the tasks of Lent -- turning and living "no longer for ourselves, but for him who died for us, and rose again ..." If we're going to live for Jesus, then we pray for the grace to live more faithfully for those whom Jesus call us to serve -- those dearest to us, and our neighbors near and far. We're not alone in this Lenten journey!
Stephen Douglas is leading "A Closer Walk with God"on Sunday mornings and Tuesday evenings. Stephen is presenting ways we can grow closer to God through forms of prayer and through prayerful awareness of God's presence in every moment of the day. Come and explore with Stephen and fellow parishioners during the Rectory Forum at 9a.m. Sundays or the Soup Suppers at 6p.m. Tuesdays.
Some folks do their praying in very hands-on and practical ways. Service on the Altar Guild is one of those hands-on and practical ways that also touches the transcendent elements in our worship. Katherine Frydenborg will offer an introduction to the ministry of the Altar Guild beginning at 10a.m. on Saturday, February 20, and following the 10a.m. service on Sunday February 21. Have questions about what that thingamabob is, or what that whatchamacallit is called? Katherine has the answers for you!
If you are looking for easy reads of an historical/theological nature during Lent, I would recommend the new "Church's Teaching Series for a Changing World" published by Church Publishing, better known as the publisher of our Prayer Books and Hymnals. I read the first volume on the flight west last month, and the second volume on the flight back home. In the first volume The Episcopal Way, the authors make a persuasive case that the Episcopal Church offers the world an angle on "The Way" of Jesus, as Christianity was first known, that is faithful to scripture, to the Church's historic traditions, and to our collective effort to respond thoughtuflly and faithfully to the circumstances of our time and place. The second volume, The Episcopal Story: Birth & Rebirth, summarizes Christian, Anglican and Episcopal Church history in 112 pages; it makes history a real page-turner! For those interested in further reading, bibliographies are provided. Future volumes will address Holy Scripture, Theology, Ethics, God's Mission in Contemporary Society, Worship, and the Practice of Ministry. You can find both printed and digital versions through www.churchpublishing.org.
Lent Madness continues to introduce us to some amazing characters. Had you ever heard of St. Roch, aka Rocco and Rocque? Me neither. But I was glad to learn about the patron saint of dog-people. You can learn about him and all the rest of this years 32 saints at www.LentMadness.org, and in “The Definitive Guide to Lent Madness” The Definitive Guide also includes some inspired recipes and a mash-up of prayer cards and baseball cards for those who obtained the “Golden Halo” in previous years. Copies are available in the back of the church; $2 each, while they last!
Now this may seem a stretch, but there are striking parallels between the life of the Church and the life of Downton Abbey. As you know, the series finale will be broadcast on March 6, but there’ll be no episode shown on Sunday, February 28. So, to fill the Downton Void, come to a Downton Potluck Supper as a form of Lenten preparation. Yes, we know the senior Lady Grantham would be appalled, but that’s her problem. You can dress as your favorite character, if you like, and bring lace tablecloths and your polished silver candelabra, or not! Do bring an appetizer, salad, entrée or dessert to share. We’ll have some fun, prognosticate on the conclusion of the Downton Series, and along the way, wonder together if there are parallels between Downton Abbey and Christ Abbey – er, uh – Church!
I look forward to seeing you, as we continue our Lenten preparations, on Saturday and Sunday morning!
In faith and hope,
p.s. On a personal note, it is with a heavy heart that I tell you that my dog Boone died on Thursday. Although he had not shown any signs of illness, it seems he had a tumor in his abdomen that had spread to his brain. Boone had been his usual bouncy self during our walk at dusk on Wednesday; but after the Vestry meeting he seemed strangely fatigued. After a seizure during Bible Study Thursday morning, we went to his veterinarian. Just three hours later he was gone. And he is missed. Boone and I were good for each other, and you all were very kind to him. For Boone and for you, I am so very grateful!
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