Slideshow image

The season of Epiphany is drawing to a close. Throughout this time, we focused on God’s revelation to us through worship and scripture, celebrating the Light of Christ that entered our world and our hearts over 2000 years ago. From Epiphany we now move into the 40 days of Lent beginning next week. Interestingly, not all Christian churches observe Lent. Anglicans, together with our Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Easter Orthodox brothers and sisters, observe this part of our liturgical year that leads up to the remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection on the cross with self-examination and reflection. For those who have not participated in a daily Lenten reflection, there is a wonderfully engaging way to walk through Lent that offers up rich stories of the lives of the saints. “Lenten Madness” was created by two Episcopalian priests in the US. For all the sports fans out there, it is run like sports tournament with an elimination bracket! Instead of the Stanley Cup, we get to root (and vote online) for 32 saints competing in the “Saintly Smackdown”! After signing up online, participants receive an email with the bios of two saints who are up against each other that day. These fascinating bios help you in your voting decision.  16 saints make it to the round of the Saintly Sixteen, eight advance to the Elate Eight, then it’s down to the Faithful Four! By the time we reach Holy Week, the final two ‘face off’ for the coveted Golden Halo!  This year’s contestants range from Joseph and Andrew, to Hildegard of Bingen, to Elizabeth Fry and even Harriet Tubman! I was so excited last year to see Mary of Bethany be awarded the Golden Halo. Saint George’s is introducing Lenten Madness this year as an option for a Lenten practice. Use it alongside your own personal Lenten practice, or put your toe into the water of daily Lenten Practice by ‘playing along’. Commiserate or celebrate how your saint is doing over coffee after church! Lenten Madness is not meant to trivialize this most holy of seasons. Churches and parishioners of many denominations, and even convents and monasteries around the world sign up each year to participate. What it does is allow us to get to learn about some amazing folks who came before us in the life of the church, the challenges and triumphs of their walks of faith, and their importance in the life of our faith. And for St. George’s, it also fits in as a form of study for our Year of Discipleship.  Here is the link if you wish to sign up  Wishing you a blessed Lent.