Ash Wednesday is just hours away! Lent, for all its apparent somberness, comes from the Middle English word lente, meaning springtime. It is about preparing for Resurrection, especially through experiences of self-discipline. And, guess what? It lasts six weeks. Contemporary psychology suggests that the brain can be rewired in six weeks. So Lent is an opportunity to change your life by practicing something for the duration of the season that you’d like to make a part of your life permanently. This is why, long ago, I abandoned â€śgiving upâ€ť things for Lent, because even though I could relax my discipline on the Sundays in Lent, which are after all still feasts of the Resurrection (many Episcopal parishes even continue to adorn their altars with flowers to emphasize this), I was usually more preoccupied mentally with the thing Iâ€™d â€śsacrificedâ€ť than before! That just didnâ€™t seem â€śedifyingâ€ť to me in any way, shape or form. So I add something to my life in Lent, and thatâ€™s what I recommend to you. You will more likely find that it will stay a part of your life afterward, and inviting something life giving and spiritually nourishing into your life leaves a little less room for the baggage that we wish we didnâ€™t have. At Church of the Ascension you are blessed with many opportunities for a six week period of â€śLenten enrichment:â€ť
Do some service: we send delegations to St. Martinâ€™s soup kitchen twice a month, or you can help make lunches for the menâ€™s homeless shelter once a month (service is a great gift to oneself). Or join in with Ministerio Felicidad. ď‚· Help out with your childâ€™s Sunday School class (or have Sunday School at home for a change), or make dinner for the Youth Group or be a chaperone for one of their activities.Â
Become a Pastoral Partner.
Join the 9:00 a.m. Choir or be an 11:15 ensemble musician.
Attend an adult formation class on a Wednesday evening or Sunday morning.
Make a donation to the church or a charity. A long standing tradition at Ascension for Lent is the Rice Bowl: when you go up for Communion drop any spare change or currency into the bowl thatâ€™ll be on a stand in the chancel. (Originally this was money you saved from not buying chocolate or whatever it was youâ€™d given up for six weeks minus Sundays.) This year the money will probably go to our Cuban refugee family.
Add something to your life thatâ€™ll improve your physical, mental and spiritual health, as all aspects of ourselves are interconnected. Contact information for ministry opportunities sponsored by Ascension are in the blue (sometimes green) bulletin every Sunday, or are to be found in the context of an announcement here in the Ascendant. May this Lent indeed bring springtime to your path. Randy