Skip to main content

The 40 days and 40 nights of Lent, a penitential season of reflection and preparation for the Queen of Feasts, Easter, is my favorite season in the Christian calendar.

Hymn: "Forty days and forty nights", tune AUS DER TIEFE RUFE ICH, St. John's Episcopal Church, Detroit:

">

[Anglican teaching moment: the fact that the Priest is wearing a cope--the purple cape-like vestment you see in the video often associated with Bishops in the RC church--is an indication that this parish is Anglo-Catholic. The red ribbons around the neck of the choristers (who for lent are vested only in cassocks without white cottas or surplices) bear medals on the end which signify achievement in the Royal School of Church Music choral program. This is a parish serious about its music.]

Before we continue, the mission of our diary tonight:

Welcome to Brothers and Sisters, the weekly meetup for prayer* and community at Daily Kos.  We put an asterisk on pray* to acknowledge that not everyone uses conventional religious language, but may want to share joys and concerns, or simply take solace in a meditative atmosphere. Anyone who comes in the spirit of mutual respect, warmth and healing is welcome.
Over the fold for more...

During the season of Lent, many Christians take the opportunity to reflect not only on their own mortality--signified on Ash Wednesday by the phrase "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return" which accompanies the imposition of palm ashes on the forehead of the faithful--but also on the final portion of Christ's earthly ministry, his betrayal, crucifixion, death and on Easter, resurrection. It is a season which I truly love. Even if you are not a practicing Christian, it's a great opportunity on a yearly basis to take stock of one's life.

One of the things I love best about Lent is the hymnody, especially that in The Hymnal 1982 of the Episcopal Church, the denomination where I make my spiritual home.

Hymn Improvisation: ST. FLAVIAN, "Lord, who throughout these forty days":

">

Grace Episcopal Church, Cincinnati, Jonathan Tan, organ.

Collect for the First Sunday in Lent, BCP 1979, pg. 218:

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 forever. Amen.
This is one of the few times in the BCP there is any reference to the Devil, which is at once amusing and also jarring: it makes one think a little--what is evil in the world?. I certainly would not ever choose to preach on this collect.

My favorite Lenten hymn bar none: Wilt though forgive, properly called "A Hymn to God the Father" by the Very Rev. John Donne (1573-1631):

   
A HYMN TO GOD THE FATHER.
by John Donne

I.
WILT Thou forgive that sin where I begun,
    Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
    And do run still, though still I do deplore?
        When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
                    For I have more.

II.
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
    Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
    A year or two, but wallowed in a score?
        When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
                    For I have more.

III.
I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
    My last thread, I shall perish on the shore ;
But swear by Thyself, that at my death Thy Son
    Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore ;
        And having done that, Thou hast done ;
                    I fear no more.

I won't pick this apart too much. Suffice it to say that it is a reflection on the poet's own piquant sex life and failures of faith. It is also--like much of Donne's work--full of puns, especially on his own name, a common theme in his work.

">

Church of the Ascension, Chicago, IL

It is traditional for many Christians to "give something up" for Lent. Some of us practice fasting and abstinence from meat on Fridays. I prefer to "take something on" which this year, is praying the Stations of the Cross on Fridays at our Episcopal Cathedral of St. Luke here in Portland, Maine. I am also volunteering at the food pantry. What are you doing for Lent? Giving up, taking on, not observing? Let us know in the comments, along with sharing your joys and concerns.

Postlude

This has nothing to do with Lent, but it is always a good time to honor Our Lady: Toccata on "Salve Regina" by my great predecessor at St. John's, Boston, Everett Titcomb played on a good historical New England organ built by Hook and Hastings. On Thursday, my Thursday Classical Music Diary--my first for the series-- will feature the work of Everett Titcomb, one of the most influential Anglican church musicians of the 20th Century.

">

Coffee hour proceeds in the comments: please feel free to share joys, concerns, prayers*, meditations, or however the spirit moves you.

Let us bless the Lord
Thanks be to God.

Originally posted to Anglican Kossacks on Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 04:59 PM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets and DKOMA.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site