Friday, February 16, 2018

Bishop’s Note: February 16, 2018 – Invitation to a Holy Lent

Bishop Eric Menees

Two days ago, Anglicans around the Diocese of San Joaquin gathered for worship on the day known as Ash Wednesday. This is a particularly poignant service where we are reminded of our sinful nature and of our own mortality: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  I am always profoundly moved by this service, and count myself blessed to look into the faces of penitent men, women, boys, and girls as I dip my thumb in the bowl of ashes and make the sign of the cross on their foreheads.

I pray that this season of self-sacrifice, repentance, service, and grace will be a blessed one for all of you.  I leave you with the words that began Wednesday’s service:

“Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting.  This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism.  It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful, were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. In this manner, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need that all Christians continually have to renew our repentance and faith.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent: by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and alms-giving; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.

And to make a right beginning, let us now pray for grace, that we may faithfully keep this Lent.”  (ACNA BCP 2019 – Ash Wednesday Liturgy)

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