“I invite you, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a Holy Lent… ”

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

It has been said that Lent is a time of personal spiritual growth: a time when I give up chocolate
or alcohol or dessert. It is a time when one takes on a certain spiritual discipline: perhaps a
specific study book, or method or frequency of prayer. We often ask one another: “What are you
doing for Lent this year?” And our answers frequently imply that Lent really and truly is all about
me (or maybe you).

On Ash Wednesday, we heard the Lenten Exhortation and prayed the Litany of Penitence. Both
were couched in communal terms. The Exhortation reminds us that it was “the custom of the
Church to prepare … by a season of penitence and fasting”; that it was a “time in which converts
to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism”; and “when those who … had been separated from
the body of the faithful were reconciled … and restored to the fellowship of the Church.” In the
Litany of Penitence, we acknowledge that “we have not loved with our whole heart, and mind,
and strength” that “we have been deaf’ and we confess “our self-indulgent appetites,” “our anger,”
and “our negligence.”

Lent is not so much about you or me as individuals, as it is about us. For the Prayer Book invites
us as citizens and as saints to an observance of a holy Lent not to make us better individuals
(although I hope it does) but to make us more aware of our membership in the Body of Christ,
the Church, and thus more responsible citizens not of a particular nation, but of the world.

Lent, then, is a journey that we take together so that we might observe “with great devotion the
days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection.” It is about us and our relationship with God and to
one another. It is a time when those bonds are to be nourished and strengthened. It is a time to
listen to God and do what God asks. Jesus is the key. He continually tells us that God is heard in
the voices of one another – in calls for help and support, in calls for love and care, healing and

Lent is not all about me. Nor is it all about you. It is about us. And so, I invite you, in the name
of the Church, to the observance of a Holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance: by prayer,
fasting and self denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.

Keep the Faith,
Reverend Susan+