Beauty and Ashes


Ash Wednesday is coming very soon. I am wrestling with what my ‘rule’ will be for Lent. I am attracted to a ‘desert’ theme but I haven’t worked out the details. The Book of Common Prayer has a great description of Lent:

Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great
devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and
it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a

season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the
observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance;
by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and
meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.

I wonder what the neophytes out there are doing for Lent?

9 thoughts on “Beauty and Ashes

  1. I’ve never observed Lent. But recently, I’ve been thinking about observing it this year. Some of our closest friends here are Episcopal, so we’ve been discussing it with them.

    I really appreciate the Book of Common Prayer description. Thanks Fr. Neo. I think you have a new “Lent convert” in your Moody niece.

  2. Well, he’s a student and his wife is a seminary employee…just like Mark and I. Officially, he’s affiliated with the PCUSA, but they’ve attended a solid Episcopal church since coming to GC. They’re great people and I always talk about “my uncle the priest” to them. Don’t worry, they think highly of you!

    I have a question about your post, what do you mean by “rule”? I don’t get it.

  3. Which church is that? Sounds like a good place for Marky Mark and you. A ‘rule’ is like a spiritual regimen–similar to a workout program. You put in writing what spiritual disciplines you will practice per day or however you want to arrange it.

  4. It’s All Saints Episcopal in West Newbury. We really would like to at least visit, but we still enjoy our OPC church. Marky-Mark’s preaching this Sunday night at our church and he has many commitments to our current church because of school. Next year, we will definitely be able to check it out, but until then … juked.

  5. I’m choosing the common discipline of abstaining from meat. Choosing what to give up is tough–last year my choice turned out to be too difficult for me (giving up all sweets), and I quit(with a very guilty and frustrated conscience)two weeks into Lent. One obviously wants the discipline to require thoughtfulness and effort (that will hopefully turn our hearts toward God), but last year when I felt like a desperate dieter instead of a penitent Christian, I was pretty sure I was missing the point of giving up something for Lent. Anybody else have a similar experience, or am I just weird?

  6. I haven’t even thought about it yet . . . thanks for the reminder. I usually give up my favorites, Coffee, Chocolate, and wine . . .**wince**

  7. A letter with that text in it to the neighborhood and to the occasional attendees at EEC would be great evangelism. What an opportunity! Get right with God in one fell swoop. What sinner could resist! I have it on good authority that there are a few in our “market” area. Might be a good “ad”, too.

  8. Jamie,
    I won’t comment on whether you are weird, but the silence in response to your comment was not because everyone else has always kept their lenten commitments. I have not. I’m using an accountability partner or two this year, though.

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