For those who have never learned about Shrove Tuesday, this is a great link to a history of traditions and explanations. For myself, growing up in Germany, we celebrated Fasching, which went from November 11 at 11:11 until Ash Wednesday - the first and last weeks being the most celebratory of the season. In honor of this historical celebratory time - do something special just for yourself or with your family on Tuesday.
Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. According to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Christ spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan. Lent originated as a mirroring of this, fasting 40 days as preparation for Easter. Every Sunday was seen as a commemoration of the Sunday of Christ's resurrection and so as a feast day on which fasting was inappropriate. Accordingly, Christians fasted from Monday to Saturday (6 days) during 6 weeks and from Wednesday to Saturday (4 days) in the preceding week, thus making up the number of 40 days.
Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of blessing ashes made from palm branches blessed on the previous year's Palm Sunday, and placing them on the heads of participants to the accompaniment of the words "Repent, and believe in the Gospel" or "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return".
Holy Trinity will be having an Ash Wednesday service at 6:00 p.m. - all are welcome. Other services in town and in Libby will be: Libby, Christ Lutheran's service is at 6:30 p.m.; Immaculate Conception Catholic Church will be having their Ash Wednesday service at 10:00 a.m. in Troy; and the Methodist Church will have their service at 6:30 p.m. in Troy.
During Lent, we will be doing the program sponsored by the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE), watching the daily videos they provide for contemplation and discussing them at coffee hours on Sundays - or here on this blog. Please do feel free to comment on here.
In support of Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), we will be following their Coupon Book written mainly by the Lake Missoula Clericus, the Episcopal clergy serving the parishes of western Montana and produced in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Utah.
We will also be meeting Tuesdays at Noon at Holy Trinity to do the course from The Great Courses called "The New Testament." All are welcome to join us - it's brown bag, so bring something to eat while we go through the course/video lectures and discussions. This will begin on February 24th.
And lastly, beginning on Ash Wednesday, and continuing throughout the year, we will have daily Morning Prayer Monday through Saturday by conference call at 7:30 a.m., with the Compline being recorded daily and available anytime after 7:30 p.m. Details on this can be found here.
May the Wind of God drive away impurity
and bring fresh and vigorous possibility to your soul.
May the freeing Spirit unbind those places within
held captive by hopelessness, anxious thoughts and internal discord.
And may you find a middle place of awareness,
between the blowing and the stillness,o feel and watch the movement from old to new.