Lent - A Spiritual Journey

If you haven't ever done so, take a look at the church's liturgical calendar.  This calendar is structured to bring note and attention to the different seasons and celebrations of the life of the church.  The liturgical calendar contains seasons of celebration, seasons of repentance, seasons of anticipation, seasons of preparation, seasons of remembrance, and seasons of ordinary life.  It is beautiful in the way in which it reflects a life journey each and every calendar year.  Not only is this a helpful tool as we consider the life of the church but also for our own spiritual journey and our life together as the Body of Christ (click on the calendar to the right for a larger version of the year).

About the church year, the Directory of Worship for the Presbyterian Church USA reads,
"God has provided a rhythm of seasons which orders life and influences the church’s worship. (Cf. W-1.3013) God’s work of redemption in Jesus Christ offers the Church a central pattern for ordering worship in relationship to significant occasions in the life of Jesus and of the people of God. The Church thus has come to observe the following days and seasons:
a. Advent, a season to recollect the hope of the coming of Christ, and to look forward to the Lord’s coming again;
b. Christmas, a celebration of the birth of Christ;
c. Epiphany, a day for commemorating God’s self-manifestation to all people;
d. Lent, a season of spiritual discipline and preparation, beginning with Ash Wednesday, anticipating the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ;
e. Holy Week, a time of remembrance and proclamation of the atoning suffering and death of Jesus Christ;
f. Easter, the day of the Lord’s resurrection and the season of rejoicing which commemorates his ministry until his Ascension, and continues through
g. the Day of Pentecost, the celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church.
The church also observes other days such as Baptism of the Lord, Transfiguration of the Lord, Trinity Sunday, All Saints Day, and Christ the King." (Book of Order, W-3.2002)

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday.  Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent.  It is during this season that the church focuses its life together around the spiritual disciplines, preparation for the events of the last week of Jesus' life, and celebration of the resurrection.  At Second Presbyterian Church, we will worship together on Ash Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.  We will celebrate communion together and will have the opportunity to have ashes imposed on our forehead or hand.  The ashes are to remind us that is from dust that we were made and it is to dust that we will return.  The ashes are also used to call us into a season of repentance and preparation.

The seasons of the liturgical calendar reflect the seasons of our individual lives as well as our life together.  May this Season of Lent serve as an opportunity to focus anew on our journey of faith.  May we find ourselves drawn closer to the God of redemption and re-creation as we remember that it is indeed from dust that we are made and to dust that we will return.  

Throughout Lent there will be reflections posted here on spiritual disciplines, and how they might provide challenges and encouragement as we journey together.


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