St. Michael and All Angels
We seek to be a light of Christ in the community, where all are welcome to experience God's love and blessings.

Lenten Practices

What is Lent?

Lent is a 40 day season of preparation for the resurrection of Jesus. The days are counted from Ash Wednesday (this year February 22) through the Saturday before Easter (Holy Saturday, April 8), not including Sundays. We mark this time by choosing actions that help to draw us closer to God.

What is Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent. Many Christians attend a worship service on Ash Wednesday. During worship, the leader will usually share a penitential and reflective sermon. The mood is solemn - many services will have long periods of silence and worshipers will often leave the service in silence. Usually, there is a responsive passage of Scripture, usually centered around confession, read aloud about the leader and congregation. Attendees will experience communal confession and moments where they are prompted to confess sins silently and pray. After all of this, the congregation will be invited to receive the ashes on their foreheads. Usually, the priest will dip their finger into the ashes, spread them in a cross pattern on the forehead, and say, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” In many congregations, the ashes are prepared by burning palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday. On Palm Sunday, churches bless and hand out palm branches to attendees, referencing the Gospels’ account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when onlookers lay palm branches on his path.

The ashes of this holiday symbolize two main things: death and repentance. Ashes are equivalent to dust, and human flesh is composed of dust or clay (Genesis 2:7), and when a human corpse decomposes, it returns to dust or ash. When we receive ashes on Ash Wednesday, we are saying that we are sorry for our sins and that we want to use the season of Lent to correct our faults, purify our hearts, control our desires and grow in holiness so we will be prepared to celebrate Easter with great joy.

In addition to a noon Ash Wednesday service, we also offer Ashes to Go at the street corner near our church or individual ash imposition.

How do I “celebrate” Lent?

Traditionally, we begin the season on Ash Wednesday, when we receive ashes as a reminder of the uncertainty of human life. We continue throughout the 40-day journey by making room in our hearts and lives for Christ's resurrection.

How can I draw myself closer to God?

In 2023, we will be utilizing a resource called Bless the Lent We Actually Have, written by Kate Bowler. Copies of this resource will be available for your perusal at church, or you can download an electronic copy. You can follow along with weekly discussions on our Facebook page. Sermons will also follow along with the weekly theme as we progress through Lent.


Previous Resources

In 2022, St. Michael & All Angels embarked on a series of activities that are designed to help you understand Lent and ways in which we can choose to be closer to God through “self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word” (BCP, p. 265). Packets will be available at the church. If you need a packet and don't attend, we can also mail you one. The packets will include the materials needed to do the few activities. If you'd prefer, you may download the activities here using the link below, but you'll need to provide your own supplies.

In 2021, we were unable to meet together, and we journeyed together through Lent using the “Lenten Micropractices” program from Vibrant Church Communications. The Sunday activities were targeted for the Sunday readings for church, but the Micropractices should still be usable each year if you'd like.