On the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, February 26, the Church begins the transition to Lent through the observance of Ash Wednesday. We pray, “O God, who before the passion of your only begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory.” Three days later, we pray, “Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness.”
While I find it hard to believe that we are this close to Lent, I also am reminded that in every day of the Church year, we are afforded the opportunity to glorify God in thought, word, and deed. Epiphany is about Christ, who revealed his glory upon the holy mountain. Lent is about centering on and nourishing that Light within our own being to be and spread that Light with our lives.
With God’s help, may we respond radically to the Light and the Ash Wednesday invitation to observe a holy Lent “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word; and by making a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us pray before our maker and redeemer.” In our doing, both we and the world are bound to become who God calls us to be as the beloved community.
God’s blessings as we pray and try,
The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector