Why keep Lent at all?
Lent, the 40 days leading to Easter, is traditionally a period when Christians are invited to take time to strengthen and deepen our relationship with God, through a blend of prayer, simple living, and study. John Chrysostom said “No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great,” This is a particular challenge if we think that Lent is mostly about reading a Lent book or giving up a glass of wine at the end of a long day. The way we keep Lent should make a difference for others too – but ceaseless activism is not the key building our relationship with God either. It follows, then, that a good starting point would be to ask God to help you discern how best to use this time in which your relationship with God is your priority.
Lent is both private – for it focuses on the spring-cleaning of your soul – and corporate, for, as the Ash Wednesday liturgy reminds us, it is the season when together we learn to be God’s people once again. May we commend to you a Lenten programme that makes space for both dimensions. If as clergy we can help and support you through this holy season, please do speak to one of us.
Some possibilities to consider as you plan your journey through Lent.
• Give up your daily “siesta” and try something creative instead.
• Pick a different friend each day and say a prayer for them. Send them a card to let you know that you’re doing so.
• Join with others in exploring a Lent book together: as a community we are reading
Being Disciples – by Rowan Williams
This will be discussed at the Tuesday House group through Lent (contact Moya & Deryck Horton for details) and also on Wednesday evenings 15th, 22nd & 29th March & Tuesday 3rd April at 7.00 pm in St Michael’s House. Let Canon Kathryn know if you’re coming along.
• Make space for silence (try the Cathedral by Night?)
• Practice forgiveness.
• Set out to make someone smile every day.
• Practice random acts of kindness.
• Sign on as a volunteer – maybe in a context that is challenging to you.
• If you suspect you might be addicted to something, whether it is technology, food, drinks, shopping, anything, try to give it up… and use the time or money to bless others.
In addition to our regular pattern of Sunday and weekday services, the Liturgy of Ash Wednesday will take place at 12 noon and at 7.30 pm on 1st March.
During Holy Week, Holy Communion will be celebrated at 12 noon on Monday 10th to Wednesday 12th April, together with Compline with an Address by the Canon Pastor at 7.30 pm each evening.
The Cathedral will host the Chrism Eucharist at 10.30 am on Maundy Thursday, with the Liturgy of Maundy Thursday being held at 7.30 pm, followed by the Maundy Watch in the Chapel of Christ in Gethsemane.
The Liturgy of Good Friday will be at 9 am on April 14th, Stations of the Cross in the Ruins at 2.00, and a performance of Bach’s St John Passion at 6 pm.
Easter Sunday’s Dawn Eucharist will take place at 5.30 am, with the Cathedral Eucharist at 10.30 and Festal Evensong at 4.00.
Cathedral by Night
On Monday 20th March at 8.00 pm there will be the opportunity to spend an hour in the Cathedral with no agenda beyond exploring the space by candle-light and being still so God can speak to you through the beauty of this place.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)
Though we know that God forgives us whenever we turn to him in penitence and faith, it is sometimes helpful to engage with a more intensive process of self-examination and to hear God’s forgiveness spoken aloud, knowing own specific failures have been forgiven. In a place where reconciliation is integral to all that we do, it makes sense to enjoy the full riches of the sacraments that Christ has entrusted to his Church. There will be a priest ready to hear confessions in the Millennium Chapel on Shrove Tuesday, 28th February, before Evening Prayer from 4.30 or on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, from 6 pm to 7 pm, also in the Millennium Chapel. At other times, or for more information, please speak to Canon Kathryn.