An Invitation to a Holy Lent
"I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word."
The Book of Common Prayer's Ash Wednesday Liturgy, pg. 265
Welcome to our Lenten journey at St. John in the Wilderness. If you are going on a trip, it’s going to require planning. Before the engine is started in our cars or our planes can take off, we spend time thinking through and researching where we are going and how we will get there. We think about what we will need to bring with us and with whom we will want to be in touch.
The journey that we enter with the season of Lent is no different. It requires preparation and planning. Without this work ahead of time, we likely will not end up going anywhere at all. I encourage you to take some time to prepare for the Lenten journey as you would a trip overseas.
What to bring? Your Bible and Prayer Book are good start, as well as a devotional guide of some kind. What else must you pack for the journey?
What will your itinerary look like? How might you schedule your time during Lent to create space for encountering Christ and his Church? Adding in a daily time of prayer, such as Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer will help or even just an alarm to remind to pause and pray each day.
Who will be coming with you? Take a few minutes to think through the people who have drawn you most into God’s ways during your lifetime. Reach out to them. On the opposite end of things, think about and reach out to someone that you have hurt or offended to make amends.
Below, you’ll find some tools we plan to use as a community to prepare for this journey of Lent. We hope you will take time to prepare your hearts and minds as well. There really is no journey like following Christ and this season of Lent especially draws us into an adventure of grace. Now is the time to prepare.
To the Cross we go,
Fr. Josh Stephens+
Stations of the Cross
Fridays beginning March 1, 12:00pm
Every Friday at 12 noon in the Church, beginning on March 1, we will continue our tradition of observing the Stations of the Cross. Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus. The object of the Stations is to help us make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer through meditating on the chief scenes of Christ’s suffering and death. They are a very special way to observe a holy Lent.
Here at St. John, we walk the Stations following crosses that were made by Mike Covell from wood on the church’s property. The service lasts approximately 30 minutes, and a simple lunch will be provided if you wish to stay for it. All are welcome.
The Daily Office
Morning Prayer: Monday through Thursday at 9:00am
Evening Prayer: Wednesdays at 4:30pm
St. John regularly holds morning prayer in the Atrium Chapel Monday through Thursday at 9:00am. Join us in person or online on Facebook (no account required).
Evening prayer is held on Wednesdays at 4:30pm, also in the Atrium Chapel. You are most welcome to join us.
Wendell Berry and the Sabbath Poetry of Lent
Available Beginning Monday, February 12
The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. + Isaiah 14:7
In this Lenten devotional, biblical texts and simple, accessible practices walk hand-in-hand with Wendell Berry’s poetic vision of sabbath and the natural world. All you’ll need is your favorite Bible and Wendell Berry’s This Day: Collected and New Sabbath Poems (the poems may also be found online). Week by week, we’ll walk through the woods together toward Easter morning, keeping sabbath as we go — with Wendell Berry as our guide.
Pick up a copy in the Parish Office beginning Monday, February 12, or view a (password-protected) digital copy using the button below.
Lenten Learning Series:
The Seven Deadly Sins
Sundays in Lent at 10:05am in the Wilderness Room
Tuesdays in Lent at 5:00pm in the Wilderness Room
As we journey towards the cross, Fr. Ian will lead us through several formation discussions on the Seven Deadly Sins: their traditional meanings, how they manifest in various destructive behaviors and shape our culture, and how we can work to identify and eliminate the deeply rooted patterns of sin in our own lives.
The book that will guide our discussion is Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung’s Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies. Participants are encouraged to read the book as the class unfolds. You can purchase a copy for $13 from the Parish Office during the week, in the Parish Hall during the breakfast on February 4, or in the Wilderness Room during formation hour on February 11. Copies are also available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ChristianBook, and other retailers.
Sunday formation for adults and high schoolers is held in the Wilderness Room between the services at 10:05am. These Lenten formation sessions will also be held on Tuesday evenings from 5:00-6:15pm in the Wilderness Room. Please bring a plate of finger food to share on Tuesday evenings!
February 14 - March 27
Lent Madness is back and better than ever this year, with a whole new lineup of saints to learn about and vote on. Last year, Jonathan Daniels narrowly beat Joanna the Myrrhbearer in the battle for the Golden Halo. You can influence results in 2024 by visiting LentMadness.org each day in Lent and voting for the saint you hope will win.
To sweeten the pot, St. John in the Wilderness is running its third annual friendly Lent Madness competition this year. To enter, pick up a bracket and a copy of the saints' biographies from the table outside the Parish Office, fill out the bracket March-Madness style, and turn it in to the Parish Office by Ash Wednesday (before the voting begins!). When Easter arrives, the person whose bracket is most accurately filled out gets an awesome prize and bragging rights until next Lent. To make things a little more interesting, the person whose bracket is most egregiously wrong will also get a prize. We’ll keep track of the daily winners on large bracket posters in the Wilderness Room and Parish Hall.
Don't forget to head to LentMadness.org daily to vote for your pick.
Contact Sarah in the Parish Office with questions. May the saintliest saint win!