"Morning by morning new mercies I see."
The church season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, where we come forward and receive a cross of ash marked on our forehead along with the words, "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return." This is a somber service. The colors in the sanctuary change from a brilliant white on Transfiguration Sunday to a deep purple on Ash Wednesday. We spend a little longer confessing our sins on this day and on Sundays throughout Lent. But the somberness, the darkness, the ash, the reminder of our mortality, all of these things serve one purpose - to wake us up. To wake us up to our own sin, and to wake us up to the goodness of the Lord. Just as the disciples on the mount of Transfiguration had to be startled awake from their spiritual slumber, so we must be startled awake from the familiar and the comfortable. And the Lord does so in the season of Lent, in particular, in order that we might see him more clearly, recognize his mercies to us - new every morning - and rejoice more fully at Easter.
So, we invite you to join us in the season of Lent, in worship together and in practice throughout the week. Join us for midweek Eucharist services on Wednesdays at noon. Consider, as is the ancient practice of the Church, fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Consider laying aside a food, a drink, a habit, or a vice this season and replacing it with prayer, reading scripture, memorizing scripture, or simply sitting quietly in the presence of the Lord for a few minutes each day.
An invitation to a Holy Lent - which we hear every year at Ash Wednesday - is an invitation to make this season set apart for God. Begin simply by setting aside time in the midst of the hurry of the week to pause, to remember, to reflect on God's mercies to you.