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Lent at St. John’s

Ash Wednesday is February 17, 2021

A Ritual for Home Imposition of Ashes
Click here for a service guide.


Lent is a season of 40 days, not counting Sundays, in the Christian year that begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Easter Sunday.  Lent, “spring” in the Anglo-Saxon language, is a time of intentional spiritual reflection anticipating the joy of Easter.  In the early church, Lent was a somber time to prepare for baptism or for penitents to return to a congregation.  The communal invitation to Lent has become a practice of re-centering one’s spiritual life.  40 days allow enough time to form new habits.  Self-examination in the light of Easter is hopeful rather than harsh.

Ideas for a Meaningful Lent

  • Read through the Gospel of Mark a section at a time asking yourself these questions:
    • What does the passage say about the human condition?
    • What does it reveal about God?
    • What does it say about the relationship between God and people?
  • Choose to fast from a meal or favorite food, a time-consumer like social media, or a quality you would like to curb. Pay attention to how difficult or easy it is to give up. What do you learn about yourself, your need for God, the way you interact with others? 
  • Add a spiritual practice:
    • Try silence such as centering prayer.
    • Read a book on the spiritual life. Popular authors include Richard Rohr, Henri Nouwen, Barbara Brown Taylor.  If poetry speaks to you, reach for Padraig O’Tuama, Wendell Berry, Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Christian Wiman, Hafiz, among others.
    • Begin a gratitude journal.
    • Take a walk around a labyrinth or your neighborhood. Pay attention to the stages of releasing, receiving, returning.
    • Sign up to work at the Bag ‘n Hand food pantry.
    • Listen to reflective music from Scott Hagler.
    • Use Ignatius’ Daily Examen.