Faith Meets World

Reflections on faith in a messed-up but beautiful world

Category: Liturgy

Some thoughts on Lent, repentance and the power of symbol

5521959239_37e036560e_bThis year I’m observing Lent for the first time.

For most of my Christian life – over thirty years, in fact – I’ve attended Pentecostal churches. Seasons on the church calendar like Lent and Advent barely register on the radar of Pentecostal and other non-traditional churches. However, we’re now transitioning into a local Anglican congregation. What this means in practice is that we’re also still going to our former Pentecostal church every few weeks to keep our daughter company. (Going to both a Pentecostal and an Anglican church makes for some interesting contrasts, I can tell you!)

Anyway, this means I have the opportunity to experience some of the more ancient practices of the church in ways that I’ve never even been aware of before. Thus my observance of Lent.

In brief, Lent is a period running up to Easter during which Christians focus specifically on prayer, repentance, self-denial and charity. It generally begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday), though there are variations depending on which branch of the church you belong to (Roman Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant). This period is intended to commemorate the forty days Jesus is said to have spent in the desert before commencing his public ministry. It is essentially an opportunity to quiet the voice of the ego or the “false self” (what the Apostle Paul often referred to as “the flesh”) and allow certain behaviours and/or thought patterns to die so that the Spirit can breathe new life in their place.

Read More

Come

This is the table, not of the church, but of the Lord.
It is made ready for those who love him
And for those who want to love him more.
So come, you who have much faith and you who have little,
You who have been here often and you who have not been here long,
You who have tried to follow and you who have failed.
Come, because it is the Lord who invites you.
It is his will that those who want him should meet him here.

(I have come across this communion invitation in a number of places, but have not been able to establish its origins or authorship. If you have can throw any light on this, I’d love to know.)

A communion prayer

Great is the mystery of faith:
Christ has died:
Christ is risen:
Christ will come again.

Father, as we bring this bread and wine,
and remember his death and resurrection,
send your Holy Spirit,
that we who share these gifts
may be fed by Christ’s body and his blood.

Pour your Spirit on us
that we may love one another,
work for the healing of the earth,
and share the good news of Jesus,
as we wait for his coming in glory.

Amen.

(From Common Worship: Additional Eucharistic Prayers, © The Archbishop’s Council 2012)

Open hearts

Almighty God,
unto whom all hearts be open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love thee,
and worthily magnify thy holy Name;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

– A collect for Eucharist, Book of Common Prayer

All content on this site is copyright © Rob Grayson 2013-2016 unless otherwise indicated