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 Lent at St. John in the Wilderness in Flat Rock, NC. Welcome to Lent in the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion, and in Christ’s one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. We join with billions of Christians around the world who embark on a sacred journey this season towards the cross and empty tomb. Or, as we like to sing as we begin “walking once more the pilgrim way of Lent” (Hymn 149 - “Eternal Lord of love, behold your Church”).
In the Ash Wednesday liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer – the liturgy which structures the season that it convenes – the worshiper is invited “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” (BCP, 265).
The tools and events below are intended to guide you on your Lenten journey. Beyond these resources, I encourage you to prepare for Lent like you would any journey, but to do so prayerfully. Pause in silence to ask God for guidance in the days ahead. Read the itinerary given to us in the Ash Wednesday liturgy on pages 264-269 of the BCP. Make a list of what you will need on the pilgrim way. Write down what you are doing to simplify your life and create the space for encountering God. Join the Church catholic for a Lent filled with grace.
Fr. Josh Stephens
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.
February 21 at 5:30pm in the Parish Hall
Mark your calendars for a pre-fast feast! Shrove Tuesday is all about indulgence and the need to use up rich ingredients before the 40 days of Lenten fasting and penitence. Butter, milk, sugar, and eggs are the rich ingredients that will make up our Shrove Tuesday dinner. The Chefs of St. John will also serve up sliced ham, fruit salad, beverages, and dessert.
RSVP by February 20 using the button below.
Ash Wednesday is one of two non-optional fast days in the church calendar (with the other being Good Friday). St. John will hold services in the church at 12:00 and 5:30pm. You will be invited to come forward to the altar to receive the Imposition of Ashes and Communion in both kinds.
Additionally, this year, St. John in the Wilderness and St. James will partner to offer an Ash Wednesday service at Carolina Village at 2:00pm in the Education Room.
Daily Lenten Reflections
Available Ash Wednesday, February 22
Share in the common journey by reading Scriptures, prayers, and reflections each day of Lent in this booklet made just for you. Each day offers a different reflection from a parishioner, clergyperson, or staff member. Contributors are as young as 5 and as wise as 80, including new and longtime church members. You may view an online version, download your own, or pick up a copy in the Parish Office or one of the church entrances.
Lenten Learning Series:
Remember the Sabbath
Tuesdays in Lent at 5:00pm in the Wilderness Room
February 28, March 7, 14, 21, and 28
What does it mean to remember to or keep the Sabbath holy? How might we deepen our experience of Sabbath in worship? How might we expand our understanding of Sabbath beyond going to church regularly? How might our understanding and practice of Sabbath draw us nearer to God?
“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” is the fourth of the Ten Commandments. With slight but important linguistic differences, the fourth commandment is found in both Exodus 20:8 and Deuteronomy 20:12. On Tuesday evenings in Lent, in the next edition of “Saintly Hors D'oeuvres,” Rev. Ian Williams will lead an exploration into our understanding of the Sabbath and the concept of Sabbath rest. This Lenten formation program will draw on biblical understandings of the Sabbath as well as historical and cultural practices of observing the Sabbath. Finally, it will explore how we, in our modern contexts, may incorporate more full, meaningful, and transformative ways to remember and keep the Sabbath holy.
Please RSVP using the button below if you plan to attend. You can also sign up to purchase the book upon which this series is based: Sabbath as Resistance by Walter Bruggemann. Don't forget to bring hors d'oeuvres to share!
Sunday Lenten Formation:
by Rowan Williams
Sundays in Lent, 10:00am in the Wilderness Room
February 26, March 12, 19, and 26
Lent is a time when we simplify our lives to create more space for God and each other. It is fitting, therefore, to spend time with Rowan Williams through his book, Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, and Prayer. In this little book that is based on lectures given by Rowan Williams during Holy Week at Canterbury Cathedral, the former Archbishop of Canterbury breaks down the faith to these four essential elements. Indeed, we are a people who have been buried and raised with Christ through baptism; we read the Scriptures; we are nourished in Christ’s body and blood; and we pray that God’s Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
Please join us for reflection and conversation on Sunday mornings at 10:00am in the Wilderness Room during Lent (February 26, March 12, 19, & 26). The books will be for sale for $10 during formation on Sundays, February 19 and 26. We will also have two copies in our library (not for check-out). This class will also serve as the required newcomers class for those who would like to be received into the Episcopal Church when Bishop José McLoughlin visits us on April 30th.
Friends of Music
Solemn Choral Evensong
Sunday, March 19 at 4:00pm in the Church
This service will include prayer as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer, and sung by the clergy, choir and congregation.
Dialogues between Priest and congregation, Anglican Chant Psalm, ancient canticles sung to plainsong tones, scripture lessons appointed by the lectionary, prayers, choral anthems and organ music will be a part of this meditative Mid-Lenten Friends of Music offering.
This is a free event, and no RSVP is necessary. Donations to the Friends of Music Fund will be accepted and greatly appreciated.
February 22 - April 5
Lent isn't all sackcloth and ashes! Join us and the Church worldwide for Lent Madness, a NCAA March Madness-style devotion in which saints like Scholastica, David of Wales, and Jonathan Daniels duke it out in a battle of holiness.
There are two ways to play:
(1) Pick up a "Saintly Scorecard" booklet at formation on February 12 or from the Parish Office to learn about the saints on this year's bracket. Fill out your bracket, predicting the winners of each round, and turn it into the Office by Ash Wednesday, February 22. The parishioner who guesses how the season will play out most accurately will receive a prize! (Second and third place will get a little something, too.)
(2) When Lent begins, visit LentMadness.org daily to learn about the two saints competing that day and vote for your favorite. We will update bracket posters all over the parish complex to keep you informed about who is in the lead.
No matter how you choose to play, we hope you enjoy this fun and engaging way to learn about the church's Calendar of Saints.