Ash Wednesday (March 5, 2014) is the beginning of Lent. Today we begin the season of renewal and new life with the help of ancient spiritual practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving that can help us accomplish this renewal as individuals and as a community. How can we simplify our lives and “lean in” to the presence of God to respond to the ways God is calling us to transformation?
We will celebrate with Eucharist and the Distribution of Ashes at 8:30 AM, and the Liturgy of the Hours (Evening Prayer) with the Distribution of Ashes at 7:00 PM. The community will be encouraged to commit to a Lenten spiritual practice including prayer, fasting and alms-giving, and suggestions will be offered throughout lent for these practices. As a sign of this commitment, community members are asked to bring an item of food or other requested items for the needy, to be left in “fasting baskets” in the altar area. Those attending Ash Wednesday services will be offered a Lenten bookmark to guide in committing to a Lenten spiritual practice.
During Lent, we have often carried around some "token" to remind ourselves, "Hey! It's Lent!" We've used pebbles, colored glass, horseshoe nails, strips of cloth... This Lent, we suggest deepening--literally--the gesture of bowing which we use during liturgies. To bow signifies reverence: we want to deepen our reverence and our obedience to God’s call to ongoing transformation. Our Lenten bows express physically our "leaning into" the experiences, the graces and the teachings of this holy season.