NOBODY'S perfect. EVERYBODY makes mistakes.
Whatever our age, a deep assurance of unconditional love gives us the courage required to admit our mistakes, and the strength required to try again.
In many branches of the Christian tradition, Lent is a season of repentance, that is, of recognizing our mistakes and asking God's help in making things right. Lent begins with the observance of Ash Wednesday and leads us to Easter, the ultimate celebration of new life and new beginnings.
On Ash Wednesday, many people go to church for the Imposition of Ashes. A priest uses ashes (made from burning palm branches) to mark a cross on each person's forehead with these words, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." In other words, "Remember you are human. No human is perfect. No human is immortal." (If you're interested in knowing why Ash Wednesday is one of my favorite days of the year, you can read my recent blogpost, "Ash Wednesday is coming!" here.)
On Ash Wednesday (February 26) we will have ashes available during Children's Chapel for any children who may wish to receive them. (This is, of course, entirely optional. In Chapel we always emphasize that each child gets to choose how they participate in any activity. Whether we participate by singing or by listening, by trying or by observing, by touching or by watching--the "right" choices are whichever choices best enable children to show respect for themselves and respect for others. Honoring different ways of participating in chapel is an opportunity for us to practice honoring difference and diversity in a variety of contexts.)
Because we are convinced that a deep assurance of unconditional love is the foundation that makes repentance, forgiveness, and all spiritual and moral growth possible, our stories this month share a strong focus on unconditional love.
On Ash Wednesday we'll share a biblical story, known by many as the story of "The Prodigal Son." The original biblical story can be found in Luke 15:11-22
Throughout March we'll share a wide variety of stories from other sources, each of which reinforces the message that, even when we make mistakes, even if we make bad choices, we are ALWAYS loved. The strong, unconditional love--of our families, our communities, and God-- makes us strong so that whenever we make a mistake, we can try to make it right; and whenever we make a bad choice, we can try again!
Song: Neither Death Nor Life...
Actions help the children pick up the words of this beautiful song (with music by Marty Haugen and words from the bible, Romans 8:38-39).
Neither death, nor life
nor angels, nor rulers
nor trials in the present
nor any trials to come
neither height, nor depth
nor all of creation
can ever separate us
from the love of God
poured out in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Practice: Wednesday Evenings in March
During the season of Lent, many people take up special spiritual practices or make a point to set aside extra time for activities like prayer, worship, or community service.
If you are looking for a special Lenten practice for your family, please feel free to join St. Mark's Church for Wednesday nights during Lent. You are welcome to participate in any portion of the evening that feels right for your family and feeds your soul!
5:00PM Silence (Stoney Chapel & Garden)
Sitting meditation in the chapel, or walking/moving meditation in the garden
5:30PM Short Service of Songs, Sacred Story, and Holy Communion (Stoney Chapel)
Simple, participatory service for all ages. Children welcome. LOTS of singing!
6:00PM Simple Supper (Parish Hall)
Sign up in the entryway to bring soup or a salad to share.
My name is Sylvia Miller-Mutia (aka Mother Sylvia), and I am a priest in the Episcopal Church. I am delighted to grow and share spiritual support with the families at St. Mark's Montessori School, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Albuquerque, NM