We are all people of the calendar. Our lives are organized around seasons, appointments, celebrations, and special dates. Many of us find regular schedules helpful as they provide structure to order our days. In the Christian Church, and in particular our distinct expression of Christianity in the Episcopal Church, we are guided by a liturgical calendar, helping us to mark the seasons of the Church in special ways.
Open up a Book of Common Prayer the next time you get a chance, to pages 13-33, and see how many pages are dedicated to the Church calendar (and we have expanded this calendar in the book Holy Women, Holy Men). Also at the back of the BCP are the Sunday lectionary schedule, the Daily Office Lectionary, and the tables for finding the date of Easter and other Holy Days (pages 880-1001).
The season of Lent can be one of the most meaningful times for our faith during the year. Lent provides an opportunity to reflect, to fast, to repent and return to the Lord. The season of Lent is 40 days long – starting with Ash Wednesday (March 5, 2014) and running through Holy Saturday (April 20, 2014), not including Sundays. These forty days remind us of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness (Mark 1:12-13, Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-12). We mark these days as a period of fasting, of prayer, and our repentance – of reorienting the direction of our lives towards God. Sundays are not included in the count of 40 days because each Sunday of the year is a celebration of the Lord’s resurrection – a mini Easter if you will. We do some things differently during Lent, even on Sundays to observe this season. We “put away’ our Alleluias (funerals being exceptions), and celebrate no weddings.
This book of daily devotionals is offered to you as a tool to help you along your Lenten journey this year. It is appropriate during the season of Lent to fast or to give up something, in order to focus your attention upon God. Many people also take on a spiritual discipline (like reading daily scripture and a meditation) or a special ministry during this season. If the Rev. Sarah or I can be helpful in your Lenten practices, or pray for you in specific ways this season, please let us know. We are invited, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent.
The Rev. Eric J. Liles
Copies of the printed Lenten Devotions booklet can be found in the back of the sanctuary. The daily devotions, including links to all the scripture readings, can be found on our website each day of Lent. You will find these on our home page, our website calendar or from this link.