This week marks the end of the season of Epiphany in the church year. Many places and cultures have traditions to end Epiphany and start the season of Lent. Where I am from in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvanian Dutch continue the celebration of Fasnacht Day or Doughnut Day for us Englishers. Others celebrate Fat Tuesday or “Mardi Gras”, Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, or other traditions. The purpose is to bring an end to times of plenty (fat, sugar, etc.) in preparation for a time of sacrifice or discipline. The true change is from the worldly to the Word for Christians.
At All Saints, the tradition has been the Youth Spaghetti Supper with its Dessert Auction. A time of feasting and raising funds for a future service event such as the Mission Trip. (Check the congregation’s website to participate and support this year’s meal.) On the other side of the celebrating, the church offers various ways to leave ways of the world behind and come closer to the Way of Jesus Christ.
We will start the journey of Lent with the Ash Wednesday service of imposition of ashes and Holy Communion. On Wednesday, February 17th at 7 p.m. we will worship with our sister congregation, Santisima Triniday, presided by Pastor Scott Baker and Pastor José A Gálvez. The following Wednesdays will have services at 7 p.m. as we continue our journey with our Lord. The communal part of the season will finish with Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services.
Individually, our denomination provides a Lenten Devotional provided by our national leadership and can be found at Lenten Devotional 2021 – North American Lutheran Church. Also new for this year is Devoted to Prayer Daily Devotions which provides daily prayer and scripture resources for the next two years.
Service and witness opportunities abound. To see what the national church is doing, check out the NALC monthly newsletter. Locally we will be planting our Garden of Hope Community Garden to share the harvest with our neighbors. We will also be collecting your spare change (and paper currency) for Water to Thrive to provide a well with drinking water for a needy community.
I do not expect you to do everything this Lenten season, but I hope by the grace of God and empowered by His Holy Spirit, for everyone to do something. As we will walk with our Savior on His journey to the cross for us, let our journey be filled with His love and purpose.
Your servant in Christ’s Name,