On February 17, St. Mark’s offers three services of the Proper Liturgy for Ash Wednesday: the imposition of ashes and the Holy Communion at 7 a.m, 12:10 p.m., and 6 p.m. Please join us. All are welcome at God’s table.
The midday service will incorporate the Rite I (“traditional” language) Holy Communion liturgy; the other two services will be Rite II (largely in the vernacular). The evening service includes the choir, and cellist Linda Wharton. The two earlier services will include cantors on the Miserere Mei (Psalm 51) sung to a hauntingly beautiful Gregorian chant tone.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent in the Christian Calendar. A season during which Christians prepare for the celebration of the Resurrection at Easter, Lent is often observed by incorporating special disciplines into one’s spiritual life, which traditionally have been expressed in some form of fasting, giving up something, or doing without.
At St. Mark’s we’ll be considering the Lenten fast as seen through the eyes of the prophet Isaiah (58:5-7):
Is such the fast that I choose,
a day to humble oneself?
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them…
How are we oppressed? How do we oppress others? How are others oppressed in our name? And how–in this season of the probing self-look–do we respond to these oppressions? If Jesus came to set people free, how can we–as the hands and heart of Christ in the world–do the same in the lives of others?
We’re also going to embark on an exploration of Jesus’ meals and the meal imagery in the Gospel According to Luke, and see how that new understanding may help us attune our Lenten fast to one acceptable in the eyes of our Lord. The Lenten study program, on Wednesday evenings, begins on February 24th at 6 p.m. with supper (a $5 donation is suggested, but please come even if you can’t pay) followed by a presentation and conversation beginning at 6:30. We’ll be finished by 7:30. Please call the church office for more information: 882-2022.