This is a special edition of the Faith@Home newsletter—it is a combination of Ash Wednesday and Lent 1 (with Shrove Tuesday thrown in).
For Shrove Tuesday
Also known as Mardi Gras and Carnivale. Join us for pancake supper (men report for duty at 3 pm) at 6 pm on Tuesday, March 5 (tomorrow). Excellent pancakes, sausage, bacon, and syrup! Other festivities begin at 6:40 pm:
- Alleluia banner – be sure your alleluia is on the banner to be resurrected at Easter Vigil
- Butterflies – make a colorful butterfly to be put away until its resurrection at Easter Vigil
- Kings’ cake – men to share the cake to find the baby; the finder is the king of Mardi Gras (includes a crown)
- Pancake race – women vie to become the queen of Mardi Gras by racing with a pancake held on a spatula, flipping the pancake (and catching it) at least once.
Alleluia banner and butterflies will be “buried” until their resurrection time at Easter Vigil. However, the burial has to occur after the butterflies dry.
For Ash Wednesday: Matthew 6:1-6,16-21
Jesus said, “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; . . . do not sound a trumpet before you, . . . whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door . . . when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face . . . store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Reflection: How can I give alms, pray, or fast without regard for the attention of others? How does Jesus’ admonition to do these acts in secret compare to his earlier command in the Sermon on the Mount: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16)? What is the reward that God gives to those who give alms, pray, and fast?
From the pew
“From dust you were made and to dust you will return” we are told on Ash Wednesday. That all sounds very gloomy and transactional. Can we think a bit differently?
Every particle and scrap of energy was created by the Big Bang about 14Bn years ago, in a moment when matter and spirit were joined for the first time in a grand and ongoing outpouring of divine love. So that means that all the dust that we have been created from is as old as the universe itself. It is the same dust that at some point could have been part of a star or sun or planet. It also means that at the end of our lives the dust that we are made of returns to the universe to be reused over and over again.
So doesn’t that mean we are participating in a continuous act of creation and resurrection? “At the heart of matter is the heart of God” as Teilhard de Chardin eloquently put.
Lent is therefore a time to comprehend our place in this ever-unfolding universe of love and action, created by a God waiting to be in a direct relationship with us.
We were chosen in Christ before the world was made. Ephesians 1:4
Maybe it would be better to say that from stardust we are made and to stardust we will return.
For Lent 1: Luke 4:1-13
After his baptism, Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” . . . “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” . . . “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, . . . ‘On their [angels] hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'”
Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.
sermons4kids: “. . . we will be tempted, but . . . we can depend on what the Scripture teaches to avoid the temptations of the devil. Let us pray . . . for help to look for the hook when Satan tempts us.”
Collect: Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Reflection: In Luke 4:1–13, the devil tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread, to take control of the kingdoms of the world, and to perform a spectacular stunt that would “wow the crowd.” Jesus refused to take control in these ways. Instead, Jesus chose another way to feed hungry people, to demonstrate what the kingdom of God looks like, and to enter Jerusalem humbly. Why do think Jesus chose another way to “do justice” and what are some ways that you and your faith community practice justice in his name?
Sunday School—9 am on Sunday
Eye Candy: “The temptation of Jesus”, a page of images across time.
Ear Worm: “40 days“, melancholy hymn by Eric Becker; “Jesus walked that lonesome valley“, a jazzy interpretation by Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash; and the same song by John Hurt.
Image “Jesus tempted in the desert” (1890) by James Tissot.
Video for “What if my friends aren’t Christian?”, is topic brought to you by duo of Chaplain Chris and Pastor Doug. Bring your thoughts! Hope to see you at 9 on Sunday.