We view Lent as a time of reflection and preparation for Easter. For a brief history of Lent see further down this article.
During this time we seek to go deeper in our relationship with God and in 2018 are marking it with the following activities:
Lenten Soup Suppers -
Come and join us for a time of fellowship over a soup supper followed by Evening Prayer on Tuesdays at 6.30pm in Duncan Hall. Why not bring along friends / neighbors and discuss what book you are reading this lent. Those who are able are encouraged to donate $5.00 to help with the cost of the meal. Those without the means are warmly welcome to enjoy these meals with the St. James Church Family. Please RSVP to Laural Sledge if you are planning to attend.
Catechism classes -
We are starting a new catechism class open to everyone on Monday nights 6pm – 7.30pm from Monday March 5 in Rev Cindy’s office.
There is also a Thursday morning class running from 08.30am – 10am in Rev Cindy’s office. Please RSVP to Rev Cindy Stansbury if you would like to attend either class.
Stations of the Cross -
Every Friday at 11am during Lent we hold a short Stations of the Cross service in the Sanctuary. The devotion known as the Way of the Cross is an adaptation to local usage of a custom widely observed by pilgrims to Jerusalem: the offering of prayer at a series of places in that city traditionally associated with our Lord’s passion and death. This service can also be made available as a self-guided devotion at another time by contacting Pat Morse.
A Brief History of Lent:
The history of this season is not quite clear. As with most traditions, there was a gradual development into the season of Lent that we see today. The only clarity we have is that people prepared for Pascha (or Easter season). The early Church designated certain groups of people to prepare themselves for Pascha in order that they can be fully brought into the fellowship of the Church. Two groups stand out the most. They are the catechumenate and the penitents.
The catechumenate was a group of recently converted believers learning the theology undergirding Christianity. This group was around in the time of Acts but become much more common by the 4th Century. They used a season leading up to Easter to prepare themselves for baptism. You can imagine the jubilee they experienced. On Easter, they were able to partake of the Eucharist right after their baptism for the first time. Months of slow learning culminated in ecstasy on Easter.
The second group was the penitents. They began in the 4th Century and continued into the Middle Ages. These individuals presumably committed grievous sins that barred them from fellowship in the Church. Penitents had to prove their repentance by performing penitential rites leading up to Easter. They often wore ash on their foreheads to demarcate themselves as penitents. As with the catechumens, the penitents were able to join in with the worship and fellowship of the Church on Easter.
The 40 days was another evolution in Lent. The Council of Nicaea (AD 325) is the first instance of the tradition. It is connected with Israel in the desert and Jesus in the wilderness, to name a few. 40 days is symbolic of a new time in salvation history.
However, it is important that we don’t disconnect history from spirituality. How can we adapt this to our own spiritual lives? History shows that the Church magnified the significance of Easter through Lent. Something special is coming, a revolutionary way to see ourselves, others, creation, and God. We bury our “alleluias” so that our alleluias will that much more worshipful on Easter. We, like the early Church, must prepare for what we will celebrate in 40 days.