We’ve enjoyed a fairly long season of Epiphany this year, but now the season of Lent is upon us, beginning with Ash Wednesday on February 26. As you will hear if you join us for the 8 am or 7 pm service that day, Ash Wednesday invites us to the observance of a holy Lent, “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 265) So now might be the perfect time to think about how you will observe a holy Lent!
Many Christians choose to give something up in Lent – a fast, often from some type of food or drink such as meat, sugar, or alcohol. In recent years, the notion of fasts have expanded to include social media, TV, or even carbon fasts. And there has also been a resurgence of the practice of taking on a spiritual discipline other than fasting – such as reading scripture every day or beginning or re-invigorating a daily prayer practice.
If you already have a prayer practice, you might consider changing some of the prayers during Lent. And if you don’t have a prayer practice, you could start to build one with something easy – just adding into your day the saying of one prayer, such as the Lord’s Prayer, perhaps as you rise or as you go to sleep at night. Here is some inspiration: a new-ish version of the Lord’s Prayer written by Quaker writer and educator Parker Palmer.
Lord’s Prayer: Father, Mother
(inspired by Matthew 6: 9-13, Luke 11: 2-4)
Heavenly Father, heavenly Mother,
Holy and blessed is your true name.
We pray for your reign of peace to come,
We pray that your good will be done,
Let heaven and earth become one.
Give us this day the bread we need,
Give it to those who have none.
Let forgiveness flow like a river between us,
From each one to each one.
Lead us to holy innocence
Beyond the evil of our days —
Come swiftly Mother, Father, come.
For yours is the power and the glory and the mercy:
Forever your name is All in One.
No matter how you choose to observe Lent this year, may your experience be deep and holy, and may you be prepared for the hope and joy of Easter!