Screech!!! That's the sound of millions of pastors, church musicians and other church leaders slamming on the brakes just in time to avoid crashing into Lent, which starts this coming (Ash) Wednesday. Even though I know it is coming, Lent always seems to take me by surprise, especially this year when we have had only a few Sundays to celebrate Epiphany. Have you ever wondered why Easter sometimes is so early and other times so late? Easter is known as a moveable feast, meaning the date varies from year to year. How is the date calculated? Our modern way of determining the date starts with the spring or vernal equinox, which is on March 21, give or take a day. Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal Equinox. Mathematically and astronomically, the earliest Easter can be is March 22 and the latest it can be is April 25. So......given that Easter 2016 is on March 27, Easter is early this year. But we'll be ready, with a full schedule to carry us through Lent, into Holy Week and finally to the celebration of the Resurrection.
Here's the schedule for the next couple of weeks:
Tuesday, February 9, 5:00 to 7:00 pm Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper at Zion
Wednesday, February 10 noon Ash Wednesday Worship at Zion
7:00 pm Ash Wednesday Worship at St. Mark
Wednesday, February 17 6:00 pm Mid-week meal and Bible study at Zion
This year, we're using the ELCA's 40 Days of Giving materials, which highlight ELCA World Hunger activity in the United States. Together, we'll set a goal for our parish, so we may contribute to the $2 million goal for World Hunger, to be raised throughout all ELCA congregations during the 40 days of Lent.
One component of the 40 Days of Giving is a daily email devotion. I will receive the email each day and will forward it to you. If the idea of one more message in your inbox makes you crazy, just let me know and I will leave you off that daily list. We will also have some printed devotion books available for everyone in church on Sunday and at all the mid-week meetings.
Lent is a time of reflection, repentance and renewal as we walk the road to Jerusalem with Jesus and his original disciples. I have always found that whatever I put into Lent in the form of prayer, study and worship returns to me a thousand fold. I hope that you will be able to participate in Sunday worship, the mid-week gatherings and daily devotions as together we consider the sacrifice Jesus has made for us because of his astounding love.