Lent 2018 - Raise Up, Sacrifice and Offer

Lent 2018 - Raise Up, Sacrifice and Offer

Having a Plan for Lent

Francis Episcopal Church, located at 14 E 20th Street in Scottsbluff, will host a pancake supper to celebrate the beginning of the Lenten season on the next day, Ash Wednesday. So the practices of these two days conflict in great ways.

I was at a Parochial Church Council, or PCC, meeting the other day (PCCs are the groups running your local parish churches) and said to show my love to my wife this year that perhaps I needed to "say it with ashes".

I will admit that Valentine's day is the feast day of St. Valentine, which makes it holy, but we do tend to remember more about "love" and all the chocolate, than the saint whose name gives the holiday its name. By fasting and other acts of self-denial and self-discipline, we strive to master our desire for immediate gratification and reinforce our will to avoid sin. During this holy season, let us try to divert our attention from worldly distractions and refocus our attention on Christ.

When we strive to journey through Lent pondering spiritual things and with trust in the Lord, our Lenten discipline may help us experience the love and mercy of God in our lives and in the lives of others. Even though the Church doesn't demand that we come to Mass on Ash Wednesday, churches are always filled on that day, likely due to the distribution of ashes. Yes, we are mortal, and so death awaits us all.

The ancient tradition was to use up all the fats in the house immediately before Lent, serving pancakes with the richer, fatty foods that would be given up during Lent. Ash Wednesday is the doorway of the entire Lenten Season.

The Rev. Erick Ashley has something romantic planned, but it is four days before Valentine's Day this year. We'll indulge over the weekend.

But Ash Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, and the church will always put a traditional day of repentance and fasting over candy hearts and decadent dinners for two. The Ash Wednesday celebration actually offers couples the opportunity to reflect on the love from the heart of God revealed in Jesus Christ. During the weekends when friends were preoccupied with spouses, kids or boyfriends, I would occasionally take myself to Westminster Cathedral for some spiritual pampering.

Both purposes are beneficial I think to our personal and spiritual growth.

You see, our faith is nothing more than our longing for God, and his for us. I don't know which is more surprising: St Valentine's relics in this church or its dedication to Duns Scotus. Do something for someone out of the ordinary.

Lent can be a fitting time to participate in some form of sacrifice. "Those are Valentine's to God for sure".

Soseman said he talked it over with parishioners and chose to transfer the observance of St. Valentine at the parish to Sunday, Feb. 11. A toast: "To us and the dust to which we shall return!" The Lord was addressing mankind's dependence on God.

Ash Wednesday: no eating meat.

"We get the same clientele every week, it won't make a difference", Turczyn said, shrugging off any suggestion of adding fish specials to his Wednesday menu. It is important that we set aside some time for prayer, to be able to raise our eyes, our voices and our hearts to God and immerse ourselves in His loving and saving presence.

When Dewane was asked what he planned to give up for Lent, the bishop replied: "Well, in Wisconsin, where I am from, we don't drink beer!"

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