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The following articles are suggestions on how we can make Lent more than just giving up our favourite things. Ash Wednesday Holy Communion 7.30pm, Wednesday, 5th March at St. Matthew’s, Bayswater. This will be a quiet reflective service of communion with the imposition of ashes for those who wish. Mothering Sunday - 30th March Our Morning Worship service will include special prayers for our mothers and our families; and there will be an opportunity to present a gift of flowers to our mothers, grandmothers and mothers in our church family. Make a donation to the Bishop of London’s Lent Appeal The 2014 Lent Appeal will focus on the Angola, London, Mozambique Association and the Bishop of London’s Mission Fund. For more information look at www.london.anglican.org/ Love Life, Live Lent Get hold of one of these little books with a simple challenge for everyday in Lent - both adult and children’s versions are available. They can be bought at any Christian bookshops or online from Amazon, Eden or Church House Publishing - or look for Love Life, Live Lent on Facebook. or take a look at Do Lent Generously at www.40acts.org.uk/ for a daily dose of generosity for everyday of Lent.
Why do Christians observe the season of Lent? Lent may originally have followed Epiphany, just as Jesus’ sojourn in the wilderness followed immediately on his baptism, but it soon became firmly attached to Easter, as the principal occasion for baptism and for the reconciliation of those who had been excluded from the Church’s fellowship for apostasy or serious faults. This history explains the characteristic notes of Lent – self-examination, penitence, self-denial, study, and preparation for Easter, to which almsgiving has traditionally been added. Now is the healing time decreed for sins of heart and word and deed, when we in humble fear record the wrong that we have done the Lord. (Latin, before 12th century) As the candidates for baptism were instructed in Christian faith, and as penitents prepared themselves, through fasting and penance, to be readmitted to communion, the whole Christian community was Invited to join them in the process of study and repentance, the extension of which over forty days would remind them of the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness, being tested by Satan. Ashes are an ancient sign of penitence; from the middle ages it became the custom to begin Lent by being marked in ash with the sign of the cross. The calculation of the forty days has varied considerably in Christian history. It is now usual in the West to count them continuously to the end of Holy Week (but not Sundays), so beginning Lent on the 6th Wednesday before Easter, Ash Wednesday. The Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare or Refreshment Sunday) was allowed as a day of relief from the rigour of Lent, and this break from austerity is the background to the modern observance of Mothering Sunday on the Fourth Sunday of Lent. As Holy Week approaches, the atmosphere of the season darkens, anticipating the story of Christ’s suffering and death - His passion - giving rise to the name of the Fifth Sunday - Passion Sunday.
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