This Lenten Season, it is my hope that I will learn and grow in spiritual disciplines; that my family will learn and grow in the same; and also, of course, that my students and parishioners will be sanctified in the practice of those disciplines which the Church, through the wisdom and guidance of God, has placed before us for our edification.
I hope that the Lenten articles published on Earth & Altar this season have or will stimulate your thinking, challenge your living, and encourage your spiritual life with discussion regarding those disciplines and practices used for years in Christ’s Church.
I would like to take a small space here to remind you of the practical considerations of Lent. Please remember that all the spiritual preparedness in the world to meet our God on a Sunday morning will not mean a thing if we don’t actually get up early enough, groom and take care of ourselves and our children (if we are so blessed), get in the car, and actually arrive to participate in the worship of Almighty God.
Similarly, if we do not prepare for the high holy days of the Church year, we will not be ready. Remember that much of that preparation is practical.
There are really only two seasons of the year which become difficult to participate in if we do not adequately prepare: Christmas and Easter both have back to back days of obligation. Instead of looking at those seasons with trepidation when it comes to realizing the practical necessities involved, please consider looking forward to them with joy because of your good preparation.
When I started serving my first parish, Christmastide was for years a season of exhaustion and sickness. Of course, being the Vicar, I didn’t have a choice to decide not to attend service Christmas morning. I actually was always glad and thankful to be in God’s house worshipping Him during that busy time despite being sick. My lack of preparation, however, took its toll on my health and contentment.
To solve my problem, I used common sense and started preparing better in a practical sense. That’s not to say I’ve figured it all out. Christmas and Easter are still especially busy seasons and I am usually very tired, but I am, of late, quite a bit more healthy and able to enjoy God’s blessings more fully.
All this to encourage you to prepare for Holy Week and Easter not just spiritually, but practically. Of course, it is really all part of the same life—there is no division between our physical reality and our spiritual reality. Yet, please take the time to think through the practical end of Holy Week. After all, there is a service every day.
How are you going to make sure the daily things of life don’t get in the way of your worship? I have to take care with my schedule that week, not trying to do too much so that I might focus on the worship of God Almighty. I encourage you to the same.
Holy Week worship is beautiful and amazing—please don’t miss a day of it because you’re not prepared!