Lent at St. Martin’s 2023
Welcome to Lent
On Ash Wednesday we confess our sin in a litany of repentance. During Lent’s forty days, we are invited to carry out the Lenten discipline, practices of fasting, prayer, and works of love. Marked with the cross of Christ, we return to God’s mercy and grace, making our way through Lent, and longing for the spiritual rebirth through Christ we celebrate at Easter.
If you missed our Ash Wednesday services, you can still view it online to prepare your heart and mind for the journey of Lent.
Lenten Vespers Series-At The Table
Jesus shared a meal with his closest friends the evening before he was betrayed. The words he used that night are the words we use every time we share the Sacrament of Communion. God invites us to be at the table just as Jesus did with his first disciples.
What does “At the Table” bring to your mind? Perhaps the phrase recalls meals shared with friends and family; favorite recipes and foods; conversations and laughter; or maybe it stirs feelings of being excluded ignored, neglected, or hungry. Unintentionally, we can assume that everyone else has similar experiences unless we have opportunities to listen to each other. Sharing our different experiences allows us to create a space that is truly open and welcoming to all, where we are aware of our limitations and willing to learn and grow.
Lenten Vespers services are each Wednesday evening beginning March 1st-March 29th in the Worship Park. A meal is provided each week at 6:30 pm, followed by worship at 7:00. Join us each Wednesday during Lent as congregation members share a reflection on what At the Table means to them, and worship with the music of the Holden Evening Prayer.
Come share a meal at 6:30 pm followed by Vespers at 7:00 pm. Please bring your own beverage and a plate for your use to help us reduce the use of paper products.
At the Table- Ann Graham
Meal provided by the Confirmation Class
At the Table- Christine Fuhrman
Meal provided by WELCA
At the Table-Michael Roth
Meal provided by Stephen Ministers
At the Table-Norm Hummell
Meal provided by Church Council
At The Table- Ann Howard
Meal provided by St. Martin’s Musicians
An Alternative Lenten Fast
The tradition of a Lenten fast or “giving something up” for Lent goes back centuries. Many people still practice this during the 40 days of Lent. But for many more people, it has lost its meaning. They ask, “Why am I giving up chocolate? What difference will it make?” If a Lenten fast has lost meaning for you, or you find yourself just going through the motions, give this modified Lenten fast a try.
- Select something that you enjoy doing on a regular basis and that you have unlimited or nearly unlimited access to. (eg. chocolate, TV, or a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon)
- For one day, allow yourself to indulge in this item or activity as you normally do.
- Then, for one week, do not allow yourself to indulge in this pleasure at all. Practice abstinence.
- At the end of the week, allow yourself to indulge again. Savor the activity. Pay attention to how you feel. Notice the physical sensations. How pleasurable is this activity? What kind of mood are you in?
- Choose a different activity or item for each week of Lent and repeat the process.
- At the end of the period, ask yourself:
- Which of these activities was truly pleasurable for me?
- What was it about them that made me enjoy them?
- Which ones to I want to add back to my life? How often?
- Which activity or item can I live without, or cut back on, in the future?
Why This Works:
One of the greatest enemies to happiness is “hedonic adaptation,” which is the tendency for people to grow accustomed to pleasurable things and therefore appreciate them less. Temporarily giving up pleasurable activities counteracts hedonic adaptation and can thus increase the pleasure derived from those activities.
Giving something up and then coming back to it later can build anticipation and make the experience feel more novel and exciting. It can also make people more likely to focus on and savor the pleasurable aspects of the experience rather than giving in to distractions.
Theologically speaking, for those of us who are blessed with so much, this type of fast is less about an artificially “suffering” than it is about learning to appreciate God’s gifts. Limiting our indulgences helps us to truly appreciate and savor even the smallest of pleasures in our lives, such as a tiny piece of high-quality chocolate, or the first sip of a good wine. When we feel pleasure, contentment and happiness, we are nurturing our connection with God.
by Dina Steiner, Spirit at Work