Lent is a journey towards the Resurrection
Lent is the season that leads up to the most holy and sacred time of the Christian year: the Paschal Triduum, or the great three days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, culminating in the Great Vigil of the Resurrection. Lent leads us through the desert to the cross, and from the cross to Easter. (Season of Lent 2016, February 10th through March 26th.)
From ancient times, Christians have prepared for Easter with a season of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. These spiritual disciplines help to strip away all the little things that get in the way of our relationship with God. It's not about punishing ourselves. We're quite capable of being hard on ourselves all the time, as we are confronted daily with our shortcomings and failures.
Rising to the Challenge
Instead, Lent is like a spiritual workout session, setting goals for ourselves that help us to rise to the challenge of living as disciples of Jesus Christ. Fasting helps us to gain control over our appetites, and to discern what our bodies really need from what they simply want. If we start to notice our cravings for fast food or potato chips, and instead of blindly giving in we stop and think, "Do I need this?", then we grow stronger, more self-controlled as people. It helps us to be more aware of our bodies and our willpower, and ultimately it can help in our struggle against all sorts of sin.
Shrove Tuesday (February 9, 2016) is the English answer to Mardi Gras (which is French for Fat Tuesday!). Both are opportunities for one last day of partying before Lent begins. "Shrove" comes from an old English word "shrive", which means "to hear a confession". It was a day for making confessions to the priest before Lent began.
On theTuesday before Ash Wednesday, we celebrate with St. Stephen's Annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper and the Shrove Show. The food is provided by MOSS (Men of St. Stephen's) with a free willing offering. followed bymusical entertertainment. Everyone is welcome! Check our calendar for the date and time.
The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday (February 20, 2016). On this day, Christians gather to begin the journey towards the Cross and the Resurrection with the Ash Wednesday service. Come to church and receive your ashes, check our calendar for service times!
The liturgies of Holy Week
Holy Week is a week-long series of services that honor Jesus Christ's sacrifice on the Cross and his resurrection. We call this the Paschal Mystery, that through his death and resurrection, evil was destroyed and creation set free. Holy Week is the most important, most sacred time of the year for Christians.
Special Services of Holy Week
The season is marked with special services and liturgies, beginning with Palm Sunday and concluding with the Paschal Triduum. The liturgies are listed here. As Lent unfolds, click the link provided to learn more about the services.