Rector's Message

Lent 2018 - Some Thoughts for the Season
by Rev’d Val
We live in an increasingly secular society, which is not news to anyone. For many, participating in organized religion is something that they have not ever done, nor something about which they wish to learn more, as religion is seen as irrelevant to their lives. What is frequently heard however, is people’s acknowledgement that they are ‘spiritual’ and not ‘religious’. While ‘spirituality’ could be defined in a myriad of ways, I recently came across a definition, that I felt very fitting for our consideration over this season of Lent. It is written by the well-known author Joan Chittister, who by any definition would be considered quite religious. Joan is a Benedictine nun and writer, a leading voice for spiritual renewal, a prophetic champion of peace and justice and a champion of the role of women in the church and the world.
Spirituality is the magnet within us that draws us to God. It immerses us in a consciousness of the God who is with us and the God who is beyond us. Spirituality is a composite of those practices, attitudes, and values designed to bring to the height of spiritual development, to the depths of goodness, to authentic conjunction with the will of God in the here and now. Spirituality is theology walking.
It makes theology real.
My prayer for us all during this season of Lent is that we may open ourselves to all that it has to show us, and that the daily reality of our faith might grow truer with ever fresh understanding.

The Lenten Journey and Its Unique Offerings
The image of the Journey is one frequently used for the season of Lent. During this liturgical season, traditionally one of self-examination, there are four particular times of worship designed to support us on this journey.
Ash Wednesday
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
10am and 7pm
Pancakes, syrup and sausages all tidied away for another year, we begin the first day of Lent with Ash Wednesday and its invitation to observe a holy Lent. While somewhat somber in general tone, it is the impositions of ashes that serves as a reminder on the one hand of our mortality and on the other hand of the gracious gift of eternal life freely given by God. This first all-important stop on our Lenten journey gives us the space to pause and to be deliberate in our decisions about how we will pass the next 40 days of this season.

Palm/Passion Sunday
Sunday, March 25, 2018
A small burst of joy in an otherwise pensive season, we remember Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem. At once loved by the people and hated by the authorities, for this moment, he is celebrated. This same service contains as well a reading of the passion story, by way of reminder of just how quickly everything will change for Jesus and his disciples.
Maundy Thursday
Thursday, March 29, 2018
This is a worship service that generally has two components to it in addition to the Eucharist. The first traditionally is a remembering of Jesus’ final night with his disciples on which he both washed their feet and instituted the Lord’s Supper. The second focus of the evening is the stripping of the altar. Out of respect for Christ’s work on the cross and the great cost of this redeeming work, all colour and finery is removed from the worship space. We are, in these simple acts, acknowledging what is to come and preparing for it.
Good Friday
Friday, March 30, 2018
The Good Friday service at St Anne’s is a Tenebrae service. The word ‘tenebrae’ is Latin for shadows. The general purpose of the Tenebrae service is to recreate and reflect emotional aspects of the passion story as we read of the betrayal, abandonment and agony of the events that occurred during Holy Week. While the emphasis of the liturgy is to create an experience of something of the darkness into which Christ descended as he completed the mission for which he had been sent, it is a piece of our Christian story that should not be missed. As we move into the brilliance of Easter Sunday our faith story becomes complete.
All of these services precede the glory of Easter morning, and are an important part of our Christian story, making the happy ending of Easter all that more glorious. So why not consider taking in the entire story this year…the highs and the lows. You’ll be glad that you did.