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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

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From dust to dust:
Ash Wednesday calls us to a Holy Lent

Lenten activities begin the night before Ash Wednesday, which we call Shrove Tuesday (in French, Mardi Gras), traditionally with a Pancake Supper. Our Pancake Supper will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Gathering Area on Tuesday, Feb. 28. It is appropriate that we have a feast the evening before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, as it's our last opportunity to "stuff" ourselves with goodies before we enter into the serious discipline that is Lent.

Ash Wednesday ArtAsh Wednesday, March 5, is a fast day in the Church. As you partake in the festivities of Shrove Tuesday, also plan to partake in the spiritual discipline of fasting on Ash Wednesday. Fasting helps us keep in mind the plight of those who don't have enough to eat, and also focuses our attention on the need to be "hungry" for the Gospel. Of course, young children and anyone with special medical needs should not attempt to fast. The rest of us can gain much spiritually by submitting ourselves to this discipline. (Read more...)

In addition to the "liquids only" fast from sunrise to sundown, we pray that you will come to the altar of Christ at one of the two services that day, at 12 Noon and 7 p.m., to receive the imposition of ashes, to hear the call to a devout and Holy Lent and to receive God's mercy in the form of Christ's Body and Blood.

In order to experience the true joy of Easter, one must walk the Lenten journey. The imposition of ashes begins this journey by reminding us that we are but creatures of dust, created by God, and lost without his saving grace.

Many of us think of ourselves as immortal. It is important that we stop at least once a year to remind ourselves of the reality of death in our lives, and of our need for the salvation that is found in Christ alone. Also during Lent, consider bringing whatever brokenness might exist in your life to Christ by availing yourself of the Sacrament of Holy Unction, or the Sacrament of Penance, called the Reconciliation of a Penitent in the Book of Common Prayer. Holy Unction, or the administration of oil with the laying on of hands and prayers for healing, is offered on Sundays during communion at both the 9:30 and 11 a.m. Eucharists. Prayer teams are located to the right of the Sanctuary near the piano.

The Sacrament of Penance is undoubtedly one of the least used sacraments available to Anglicans. Yet it remains an important channel of God's grace. Lent is a particularly appropriate time to make a private confession to a priest. More information about this sacrament will be provided in coming editions of "The Net," and can be found on our web site, www.standrewspolaris.org. If you have additional questions, or desire this sacrament during Lent, please contact me at 740-548-5112, ext. 1, or rbaird@standrewspolaris.org, or see one of our associate priests.

Whether the wholeness you seek is spiritual or physical or both, in the sacrament of Holy Unction we come seeking the wholeness of God in our lives. It is appropriate for us to offer to God whatever brokenness we have, so that the healing power of his love might restore us to the perfection to which he calls us.

Whether your brokenness is a physical ailment, a broken relationship with a friend or child or spouse, or with God, whatever the need, you are invited to come forward to receive the sacrament. It is also appropriate for you to come forward to receive the laying on of hands for someone else who may be too ill to come to the altar of the Lord.

Most importantly, Lent provides an opportunity for all of us to come, to pray and to offer our lives to God as a "reasonable and holy sacrifice." May each of us find ourselves at Christ's altar in Lent!