Dear Friends in Christ,
On the Feast of the Transfiguration, we say "good bye" to the word "Alleluia". That is a word that means "Hooray", "Yippee", "Awesome"-it is a praise word of great joy. This is a word that we put away as we head down from the mountaintop into the 40 day sojourn of Lent. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, when we are marked with the dust of ashes from last Passion/Palm Sunday palms, as a reminder of our mortality-we are created from dust and to dust we shall return. Those ashes are formed in the shape of a cross, reminding us that it is only through the cross, through Jesus' death and resurrection FOR US, that we are raised up from the ashes -forgiven, loved, and restored by God. For 40 days thereafter, we follow the discipline of Lent which includes repentance, fasting, prayer, and works of love as we move toward Holy Week and the Passion of Christ and his blessed resurrection at Easter. Death to life-what a journey!
So we begin this journey putting aside our "Alleluia"s until we resume them at Easter with the greatest joy. We pray: Lord of joyful noise and solemn silence, today we bury this word of praise so that we can spend time in prayer and repentance. You are a loving Father to us, a forgiving Savior, a guiding Spirit, always ready to turn our steps toward goodness and peace. Give us a good and holy Lent. In forty days, when Lent is finished, bring us back to this place to reclaim our song of Easter joy. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. A blessed and holy Lent be with you all!
See you in worship! In Christ's love,
Pr. Jen Schaefer+