Do you remember the phrase, “spring cleaning?” I know some of our younger ones have no clue what spring cleaning is about. In the good old days before technology freed us from this chore, area rugs would be hung on the clothesline and beaten to get the winter dirt and soot from the coal furnaces we had in our homes. I remember as a child going down to my grandmother’s basement and looking at the coal furnace—no longer working of course—and other antiques such as a pedal sewing machine that were stored there. When growing up in Illinois, we still had spring cleaning in our house. While we did not have to beat the area rugs, we did have to hand wax the wooden floors; clean the storm windows; clean the window sills as well as the windows themselves; clean out closets and drawers; as well as vacuum and dust the whole house. All the dust, dirt, and things we had collected over the winter months now needed attention. The windows were flung open for clean fresh air to fill the house.
The Season of Lent is a time for us to have a kind of spring cleaning. We have collected all kinds of dirt and soot in our lives. We need to clean out the things we have stuck in our closets and drawers that we have not wanted to deal with. We need to be open to a washing away of the dirt we have collected and been prevented from dealing with. Lent is a season for us to open ourselves up to the cleansing grace given to us by our Lord, Jesus Christ.
We begin not by belly gazing but lifting up our eyes to the Cross. This is not an exercise of self-awareness but of realization and response to what God has done for us. He is the one that has taken away the sin of the world and calls us to participate in that life he calls us to. Has pride been something we have ignored to the detriment of a relationship with God? Has anger caused us to cause damage and hurt to others? Have lies, twisting the truth, been used to make us appear something we are not? What have we stuck in a closet or in a drawer that we have been unwilling to deal with?
The Church, in God’s wisdom is here to help. Lent is the time for examination, repentance and amendment of life with God’s help. It is a time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to the glory of God as a means to open ourselves, our souls and bodies, to his healing and saving grace.
March 2nd starts off with World Mission Sunday. This Sunday is dedicated to helping the Mission and Ministry of SOMA –Sharing of Ministry Abroad. If you remember, Dr. Glen Petta came to speak to us about the ministry and mission of SOMA a couple of years ago. It is an opportunity to celebrate that we are a missionary Parish. We will take a special “mission offering” to be used for the international work of SOMA. Its mission is to build up clergy, spouses, and lay leaders through short-term mission and retreats to serve God in the strength of the Holy Spirit.
In addition to Mission Sunday, enclosed with this newsletter are a prayer guide and Lenten Mite Box for each family to use. The Sunday School students will also be receiving a Mite Box for their personal use. As individuals and families, I commend to your use these prayer guides and Lenten Mite Boxes each and every day of Lent. “They will help everyone learn a little more about our brothers and sisters in Christ from Myanmar, frank peretti speaker olympian winner of mary lou retton wedding texasUganda, Peru, Pakistan, Ethiopia and around the world and have the opportunity to place a small thanksgiving donation in your mite box on their behalf. There will be suggested daily prayers for those suffering poverty during Lent. After all Lent is a time of reflection and remembrance in which we acknowledge our own need for mercy and the desperate needs for food, security and love in the world around us. During Lent we recognize that we are all equally poor—whether spiritually or materially—before God, and equally the recipients of His radical Grace.” (Paraphrased from the Anglican Development and Relief Fund Web site)
Shrove Tuesday we will once again have the opportunity to help our Boy Scout Troop 82. By joining us for our Pancake Supper you will have a “fat” meal served as well as some great entertainment. Our own Jon Stutler and Razzmajazz will provide the fantastic music. I hope you will come and join us as we celebrate Shrove Tuesday with a pancake supper, fellowship and great entertainment. Shrove Tuesday derives its name from “Shriving” or to confess our sins and receive absolution pronounced by a priest. This tradition of “shriving” on Shrove Tuesday is more than to just feast on fattening food. It is our preparation for the season of Lent. Confession will be available from 11:30 am to Noon.
Ash Wednesday is March 5th and again we will have Confessions available from 11 am to 11:30 am and 6 pm to 6:30 pm. The Imposition of Ashes and Eucharist will be a Noon and at 7 pm. Ash Wednesday should be of high priority as it sets the tone for the Season of Lent. Our Lenten Schedule of other offerings is available elsewhere in this Legate. We will have speakers and Lenten Concerts; a defense class; and Deacon Nancy will offer on Sunday evening at 6:30 pm a class on Prayer and the Gospel of St. Matthew. One of the speakers will be our own Fr. Maneikis who will share his recent trip to Turkey and the Hagia Sophia. At the writing of this Newsletter things are still in the organizing phase so please watch your Sunday Bulletin for more complete information. Concerts, classes and speakers are great times to invite family, friends and neighbors, so please invite them to join us.
Lent is a very important time for a Christian. It sets the tone, it allows us to enter into the spring cleaning of our selves, our souls and bodies. It prepares us to enter in the celebration of Easter with joy that comes only from our Lord and his Resurrection. May we all have a blessed and fruitful Lent.