Lent at Saint Michael’s

birch-purpleA holy fast will soon envelop us, calling us to pause and reflect. Lent is a penitential season of forty days and nights (excluding Sundays) when we are asked to tuck away our exuberant “Alleluia” cries so that we might search for a deeper meaning of Christ’s time here on earth. 

Lent began on Ash Wednesday, February 26, with Imposition of Ashes & Holy Communion at 12 Noon & 7:00 PM.

On March 1, the First Sunday in Lent, we chanted the Great Litany and celebrated Holy Communion at Sunday morning services—8:00 and 10:30 AM. The Great Litany was the first text translated from Latin into English by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer back in 1544. A litany is a prayer in multiple parts with several petitions. For the succeeding Sundays in Lent, a Lenten Litany opens our worship. This homegrown litany is adapted from the Episcopal Church’s Enriching Our Worship, 1998, with minor additions from the Book of Common Prayer. Our Lenten Litany begins with an Invocation of the Holy Trinity, continues with what you might recognize as Prayers of the People, and concludes with a call to confession which leads naturally into the Penitential Order. This is done to focus our hearts and minds on penitence and forgiveness near the start of the liturgy.

Our worship space, liturgy, and music have been transformed to help encourage and inspire reflection and contemplation.

Our worship space: As you enter the Nave, you’ll notice the Holy Water stoup contains sand, reminding us of our wilderness journey. As your eyes gaze east or west, you’ll see the Stations of the Cross hanging from jute straps along the walls. As your eyes move to the front, you’ll see deep purple dupioni silk banners, decked with painted Birch branches pregnant with the buds of Spring, hanging in the niches. Look toward the altar and notice it is bare slate. On the retable, you’ll find bare branches instead of flowers. Our iconic stained glass rose window is also covered, muting its many colors.

Our liturgy and music: Musical preludes are not offered in Lent so that worship can begin in prayerful contemplation. To provide those gathered to pray with quiet, the nave doors are left closed. Please ask a greeter if you need assistance with the door. Music takes on a contemplative component that draws greatly from the breadth and depth of our Anglican heritage. Musical postludes, though subdued, will be offered from either the harpsichord or piano.

Deliberate silence occurs after each reading, begun and ended by the sounding of a singing bowl, allowing time to contemplate what we’ve heard. We chant the Psalms to plainsong; this often reveals new meaning and interpretation not encountered in accompanied or metrical Psalm settings. Intentional silence is inserted between the Communion Hymn and Post-Communion Prayer. These transformations are done to allow us to reflect in quiet and to open our minds to different vistas and glimpses of the Divine.

lent_retreatLenten Suppers and Candlelit Contemplative Worship

As of March 5, on recommendation of our Bishop and public health officials, we are only offering Candlelit Contemplative Prayer and Communion on Wednesday evening at 7 PM.

All are invited to share in simple suppers before our Wednesday Lenten evening worship on March 4, 11, 18, & 25, and April 1 and 8.

The schedule is as follows:

  • 6:00 PM – Children help make communion bread in the undercroft kitchen.
  • 6:15 PM – Supper in the undercroft. Please bring something to share. We will provide child-friendly food.
  • 7:00 PM – Contemplative Prayer and Communion [Read more about this service.]

You are invited to support this offering by assisting with set-up, bringing prepared food, or helping clean-up. To volunteer, please sign up on the sheets in the Narthex or contact Tina Blondino.

Lenten Meditations from Episcopal Relief and Development

Available for free at the greeter table!

This year’s devotional focuses on the spiritual lives of children and how they can inform the prayers and meditations of all Christians. The Lenten Meditations reflect Episcopal Relief & Development’s commitment to leveraging the resources of Anglican and ecumenical partners to deliver measurable and sustainable change in three signature program priorities: Women, Children and Climate.

Each day during Lent you can read a daily reflection, co-authored by a group of Anglican Communion and other faith leaders. During this season of reflection on our Christian faith, their writings will enhance your spiritual journey as they both inspire and challenge you. You can pick up printed copies at the greeter table in the narthex or subscribe to the digital version and receive daily emails.