ASH WEDNESDAY: The season of Lent begins on Wednesday, February 10, with Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is a day that is intended for contemplation and preparation for the time of Lent, which itself is a season of preparation for Easter.
Ash Wednesday is the day that you see people around town with a cross made of ashes on their foreheads; the cross of ashes is a sign of our mortality, a sign of the hope that we have in Jesus Christ, and a sign of our turning from that which steals life and holds us back in our relationship with God, neighbor and creation.
Congregational UCC will hold an Ash Wednesday service, with the imposition of ashes available (on forehead or hand, your choice) on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.
LENT: Lent is the season of preparation for Easter, the holiest and most joyful event in our walk with Jesus. One emphasis of the season of Lent is a focus on deepening our relationship with God and others. Sometimes, perhaps especially in faith traditions within Christianity such as the Roman Catholic Church, people were encouraged to give something up in Lent, to focus awareness away from the more trivial, to gain some knowledge of denial and our dependence on God, and to give the money saved from the foregone activity to charity. More and more, there is an emphasis on taking on a new practice, or recommitting to a flagging practice, like daily prayer or Scripture reading. The goal of any such discipline, whether one of austerity or abundance, is to deepen our relationship with God.
One reason that the UCC churches, and the traditions that comprise the UCC, as well as many other Christian traditions gather on Wednesdays in Lent for fellowship, or study, or prayer, or worship or a combination of the above, is to give people a time to think about their faith and their relationship to God.
At Congregational UCC, we want to build community, deepen relationships and increase our head and heart knowledge of God. This year we will offer Lenten Gatherings on Tuesdays, beginning on February 16, at 6 pm.