Lent is a season of repentance, self-denial, prayer, and works of love as we leave
the Mountain of Transfiguration and the glory Jesus revealed (Matthew 17:1-9),
and begin following as His disciples down the road to Jerusalem and the death
awaiting Him. It is a season of repentance, self-denial, prayer, and works of love
as we recognize first that it is our sins that caused the Son of God to die, but also
that we have been baptized into his death AND resurrection, making us His disci-
ples and giving us the Holy Spirit who enables us to live lives of obedience and
For Ash Wednesday, the official beginning of Lent, we will have the Imposition
of Ashes and Holy Communion at 7:30pm March 5th. This will be a somber ser-
vice of penitence and reflection, one I would encourage everyone to attend.
Ashes are a rich symbol rooted in Biblical practice and carried forward in ancient customs. In a Christian context, ashes suggest judgment and God’s condemnation of sin, frailty, humiliation, repentance,and our total dependence upon God for life, We are reminded forcefully of the words of the committal in the burial service, “… earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” One day those words will be said However, ashes also suggest cleansing and renewal. They were once used as a cleansing agent in the absence of soap, and on Ash Wednesday the ashes have been understood as a penitential substitute for water as a sign of our Baptism. Since
Baptism is a primary emphasis of Lent, this sign is especially meaningful as we begin this solemn season. Water both stifles and refreshes, drowns and makes alive; so
the ashes also tell of both death and renewal.
Take the time to share your blessings and the joy of Christmas with seafarers who will be out on the sea and far away from home and loved ones. Collect a few items, place in a box and gift-wrap it for the sailors whose ships are docked at the Port of Albany during the Christmas season.
Suggestions to include: knit cap, gloves, socks, writing paper, envelopes, comb or brush, book, toiletries (razor, shaving cream, shampoo, shower gel, toothbrush & toothpaste, chapstick), batteries, candy bar, canned nuts, something from “Albany”, finish it off with a card or personal note.
Once again it’s estimated that 300 – 350 packages will be distributed.
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St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church
475 State Street, Albany, NY 12203