Dear People of St. Catherine’s Church,
Last night after supper I ate a few Rolos. They are those little chocolate/caramel nuggets that taste so good. After the tenth one, my wife gently – or, rather, forcefully – reminded me that ten was about 8 too many! I love Rolos! I love anything chocolate and caramel combined. So I am girding myself up for the arrival of Lent! No more Rolos!
Life in our culture is mostly characterized by its homogeneity. In season and out there are soccer games. We can get fruit and produce any time of the year, even not in season. Television programs don’t seem to follow any particular rhythm, save for a few that feature chintzy Christmas themes, or seeing downhill skiing in the winter and not in the summer. Really, life follows a flat line, month in and month out.
So, it is countercultural for us to set aside an entire season to be different. Forty days seems like a long time to fast, pray and meditate on our souls. Up in Buffalo, where I lived for 24 years, Lent was dusty, hollow, cold and warm, snow, sleet, rain, eventually crocuses and grey skies. Down here, though, even the weather is not noticeably different. It gets a bit warmer in Lent, but the same mixture of sunshine, now and then a shower.
Long ago, this season of Lent was the time catechumens went through their final preparation for baptism at Easter. Since being baptized was truly a life changing moment for them, they prepared to be welcomed into the community of Christ, perhaps saying farewell to family members, or leaving professions that were disfavored by the church.
I invite you to set aside this season – however you are able – to return to simple things, to seek renewal of your life, to imagine yourself first coming to the saving water of baptism. Throughout this season in our worship we will hear the great classic Lenten gospel readings – the temptation of Jesus, Nicodemus wondering how he could be born a second time, the woman at the well, thirsting for the water of life, the man born blind finally seeing, and poor Lazarus pulled from the deep rest of death back to life.
Let this truly be a different time in your life as it will be for us as a parish. Change something about your routine, your daily habits, your intentional rhythm. For me that will mean, at least, giving up Rolos! But that’s simple and my wife will ensure that I don’t slip.
At the end of this different time, we will assemble in the darkening evening, light a new fire, light the great paschal candle from the fire, enter the dark church, hear the story of salvation from beginning to now, baptize new persons, and rejoice around the table of the Lord. Thank goodness for this different time. It leads to great joy.
With hope and expectation.
Allen W. Farabee
Sunday 8:00 AM
Sunday 9:00 AM
HOLY EUCHARIST WITH MUSIC
Sunday 10:00 AM
Sunday 10:00 AM