Lent at Saint Paul

This Lent we will revisit some familiar gospel stories of Jesus’ life. Each one may have a simple, a complex, a perplexing and a harmonizing aspect to reveal. Instead of seeing a flat character of Jesus, we can turn the lens and see more dimensions, more depth, more wisdom to behold.

We will gather at Saint Paul UMC in the sanctuary at 6:00 p.m. on March 2 to join Christians around the world ushering in a new church season of Lent. On Ash Wednesday, March 2, we place ash upon our foreheads in remembrance of our own mortality. Thus begins our Lenten journey of prayers, worship, study, alms giving, and fasting for some. 

This year we will have the labyrinth in the chapel throughout Lent. You are invited to walk the labyrinth as part of your Lenten practices anytime the building is open. Information about the labyrinth and suggestions for walking it will be available. If you would like to make your own labyrinth reflecting your soul language, I will offer a Soul Art class on March 23rd at noon. See our Lent newsletter or Planning Center for more information and to register. 

Each Wednesday following Ash Wednesday, Jed Linder will offer guided prayers and meditations at 6:15 in the chapel which will provide another opportunity to experience this ancient prayer practice of walking the labyrinth and learn about the canonical hours. 

During Lent, our Sunday morning worship will examine stories of Jesus’ life noting the simplicity, complexity, perplexity and harmony that are woven into them. Our image for Lent is reminiscent of gazing through a kaleidoscope which invites us to see the many facets of our biblical stories of Jesus, particularly in the frame of crucifixion and resurrection. 

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, April 10. The choir is preparing a spring concert of “Light Shines in the Darkness” for this day. We will honor Jesus’ last week with his disciples in worship on Maundy Thursday, April 14th and Good Friday, April 15th, both at 7:00 p.m. Easter Sunday will be a celebration of the new life we are given each day.

Labyrinth Walk

A labyrinth is a path to the center. It is not a maze. They offer a chance to take “time out” from our busy lives, to leave schedules and stress behind. Walking a labyrinth is a gift we give to ourselves. People walk the labyrinth as a tool to enhance prayer, contemplation, meditation and/or personal growth. The labyrinth represents our passage through time and experience. Its many turns reflect the journey of life, which involves changes of direction, transition, some uncertainty but also discovery and achievement. The labyrinth has a single path that leads unerringly to the center. It shows us that no time or effort is ever wasted; if we stay the course, every step however circuitous, however many turns, however distant it seems, takes us closer to our goal. The turns of the labyrinth are thought to balance the two hemispheres of the brain, resulting in physical and emotional healing. As reaching the center is assured, walking the labyrinth is more about the journey than the destination, about being rather than doing, integrating body and mind, psyche and spirit into one harmonious whole. Labyrinth Walk during Lent Soul Art: Labyrinth Making An ancient sacred path called a labyrinth can be one way to do a walking meditation and listen to your soul. A labyrinth is available in the Chapel throughout Lent during building hours. There will be handouts in the chapel with more information about this ancient path and suggestions for walking the labyrinth. Our soul speaks in symbols and images. You can listen to the Wisdom within by allowing those images to take shape before you. Create time in your journey this month for a labyrinth walk then learn how you can make your own labyrinth of your soul symbols. On March 23rd, 12-2 p.m. Jane Florence will offer samples and techniques guiding you in creating your own soul labyrinth. Please check out our website or church planning center to register for the art session so ample supplies are available. Art supplies will be provided and donations are accepted. 14 There will be a labyrinth set up in the Chapel at Saint Paul UMC throughout Lent (Mar 6- Apr 17). You are invited to experience a labyrinth walk as often as you wish during building hours. There will be more information in the chapel about walking a labyrinth. Be prepared to remove your shoes.

Wednesday Night Vespers

The Lenten season is a time of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter. During this season, we remember Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness, and his time of spiritual journey and testing. Through this remembrance, then, we challenge ourselves to our own journey of self-examination and reflection, all the while as we prepare for the Good News of the empty tomb. But this journey is not one we take alone. Instead, we join with our faith community to travel side-by-side. And so, all are invited to take time this Lenten season and come together for worship, fellowship, and spiritual discipline.

Following Ash Wednesday, please join Pastor Jed for weekly worship and meditative vespers every Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. in the Chapel. This year, our weekly gathering will be inspired by the canonical hours, an ancient practice that teaches us that time is a grace and gift from God, with each hour reflecting a little more of who God is. Each Wednesday when we gather, we will spend some time in community worshiping and developing new tools for a maturing spiritual life, and then allow space for personal meditation, labyrinth walking, and/or prayerful reflection. NOTE: Members of the choir will be able to participate without missing rehearsal.

Climate Justice Opportunities

Our team has prepared a 2022 Lenten Carbon Reduction Calendar to suggest ways we each can reduce our carbon consumption and the damage it causes to God’s creation. Consider incorporating the specific ideas into your lifestyle as well as learning more from the resources included in the calendar

Access the calendar in three ways:

  1. To receive daily texts with calendar entries during Lent, text the word “carbon” to 97000.
  2. Access the calendar on the Climate Justice page of the website (saintpaulumc.org/climate-justice/)
  3. For those who prefer a paper copy, you can find a copy at the back of the sanctuary.

Lent FAQ's

Lent is a season of preparation leading up to Easter. It is the forty days before Easter, not including the six Sundays. For centuries, it has been observed as a special time of self examination and penitence. Lent is a time for concentration on fundamental values and priorities, and is not a time for self punishment.

The custom is to mark the season of Lent by giving up some things and taking on others. Both can serve to mark the season as a holy time of preparation. Some examples of things people give up for Lent include sweets, meat for all or some meals, caffeine, and alcohol. In most cases, giving up something for Lent can be made more meaningful by using the money or time for another purpose. For example, meal times on fast days could be spent in prayer. Another example is that if you give up meat during Lent, the extra money that would go to meat dishes can be given to a group, such as World Vision, which works to end hunger worldwide. Some things added during Lent are daily Bible reading, fasting, times of prayer, taking a course of study related in some way to spirituality.  Note: Sundays are celebrations of Christ in our midst and are always an appropriate day to lessen the restrictions of Lent.

This is actually the day before Lent begins. The day is named for the “shriving” or confessing that was traditional on this day before beginning Lent. This day is also known as Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday,. because it was a time for eating the things from which one would abstain during Lent. Pancake suppers are traditional as they were a way of using up some of the ingredients not needed during Lent.

The first day of Lent is marked with a special liturgy. The theme for the day, though not for all of Lent, is our mortality.  This is symbolized by the imposition of ashes on the forehead, with the words, “You are dust and to dust you shall return”.  In the Old Testament, ashes were a sign of penitence (feeling regretful at offenses) and mourning.

This Sunday before Easter is the last Sunday in Lent. The day commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The day is also marked by sometimes reading the story of Jesus’ passion (the word used to describe Jesus’ death comes from ”suffering” which is one old meaning of passion). Some of the Palm Sunday palms are kept and used to make the Ash Wednesday ashes for the next year.

This is the Thursday in Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter). The day is a time for remembering The Last Supper. The name comes from the Latin word “Maundatum” for “commandment” as Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment; that you love one another”. At the conclusion of this service, altars are stripped of any ornamentation and crosses are removed or veiled to mark the solemness of the occasion.

The Friday in Holy Week is a time for remembering Jesus’ death. This is the second day of special observance for which fasting is recommended. One should use discretion in decided how best to observe this day. There is no celebration of Communion from Maundy Thursday until the Easter Vigil on early Sunday.