What's Lent all about?

“Lent” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lencton – meaning “spring” or “lengthening” from the time of year when the days grow long. The season begins on Ash Wednesday (February 17, 2021 ) and ends with the Easter Triduum (Maundy Thursday through Easter Day, April 4, 2021), covering 40 days (excluding Sundays which are little feasts of the Resurrection). Some believe that the word “Lent” may derive from the Latin lentare, which means “to bend.” This understanding reinforces a sense of Lent as a time of preparation for personal and collective transformation.  Lent becomes the time to look truthfully at ourselves and make changes. 


Lenten Resources for Adults

Lenten Resources 2021

The Episcopal Church website offers a number of resources for Lent and Holy Week

  • Words of Life: Jesus and the Ten Commandments by Adam Hamilton offers a suite of resources for your entire congregation to engage in the Ten Commandments as a guide for experiencing life today. Resources are available for children, youth, and adults


  • Living Well through Lent 2021 by Living Compass offers daily reflections in print and by email. Look for their Facebook page for an online community to follow up on weekly reflections. (THIS IS THE DEVOTIONAL BOOKLET WE ARE DISTRIBUTING IN OUR ASHES TO ALLELUIA BAGS)


  • Entering the Passion: A Beginner's Guide to Holy Week by Amy Jill Levine explores the biblical texts surrounding the Passion story. Professor Levine shows us how the text raises ethical and spiritual questions for the reader, and how we all face risk in our Christian experience. Can be used as a six-week Adult Lenten book study. Find the bookthe leader guide, and teaching videos on DVD


  • Way of Love: Life Transformed offers a set of seven Adult Forums that relates the Easter Vigil readings to the seven practices of the Way of Love.


  • The Soul’s Journey, offered through Forward Movement, presents beautiful imagery of the stations of the cross with reflections by well-known faith leaders to help participants relate this story of self-sacrifice and profound love to their own lives. A free study guide and liturgy supports the use of this book as a small group study. This downloadable PDF file makes it easy to use this book on Zoom. 


  • What Wondrous Love: Holy Week in Word and Art follows the events of Holy Week through the work of well-known artist, John August Swanson. This DVD features commentary by Thomas Long, Luke Timothy, Carol Newsom, Steven Kratchick, Jan Love, Walter Wilso, Carol Holliday, Joel Lemon and Andrea White from the Candler School of Theology.  The discussion guide is available separately.


  • The Walk, a book and video series by Adam Hamilton offers the opportunity for an entire congregation to engage with five core Christian practices of worship & prayer, study, serve, give and share. Resources to support The Walk are available for children, youth and adults.


  • In A Path to Wholeness: A Lenten Companion, Russel J. Levenson offers Scripture and reflections focusing on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. 


  • In Winged with Longing for Better Things, Sylvia Sweeney offers reflections from an eco-feminist perspective for each day in Lent, inviting readers into action and advocacy on behalf of the earth and the marginalized.



Stations of the Cross Fridays During Lent


Stations of the Cross will be set up every Friday in Lent, beginning February 19 from 10am-1pm.  The stations, with images and devotion booklet, will begin outside the church on the porch by the music room, then move around the courtyard and end in the Memorial Gardens.  Once a devotion booklet is used, there will be a box to deposit them in at the end of the stations, where they will be sanitized before being reused.


Lent in a bag 2021

We created Ashes to Alleluia Lent in a Bag Kits to help you engage in this important church season in your homes. The 200 kits were very popular and we don't have anymore kits left, but some of the materials in the kits can be downloaded. 

Contained in the bag were ashes to use on Ash Wednesday (with instructions on how to use them), a Lent Devotional from Living Compass (the publishers of the popular Advent devotional so many of you enjoyed) an Ashes to Alleluia booklet that walks you through each week of Lent with many different ways to pray, fast and give alms - the hallmarks of Lent, and all the items needed to create a small altar space in your home.  Starting on Ash Wednesday, you will take out the purple cloth and place it somewhere in your home, then pull out a different symbol of Lent each week through Holy Week and culminating on Easter Sunday. 

Fr. Bill explained everything included in the Ashes to Alleluia bag in his Friday Video Message on 2/12


Ash Wednesday Service at St. Michael's


The Prayer I Need This Day

After the last year in which churches around the world have been closed and congregations scattered, the SSJE Brothers invite you to “Come, Pray”. Join us in the receiving the daily gift of prayer – at home or wherever you find yourself. Across the weeks of Lent, listen in as Brothers discuss the rich and varied ways we pray, together in church and in our personal prayer. Then join us for worship, exploring a rich array of live-streamed services, culminating in the glories of Holy Week. “Come, pray in me the prayer I need this day.”

The series is centered on a weekly 20-minute video and invites participants to explore and experience diverse prayer practices alongside the Brothers through joining our regular, live-streamed worship, special services, and online teachings.

To sign up for the weekly emailSSJE.org/subscribe and select “Monastic Wisdom for everyday living“.

Lent prayer image


Making Pretzels- a traditional activity for Lent 


The pretzel has been used during Lent for over 1500 years. It is thought that originally pretzels were made by monks to resemble arms crossed in prayer. These breads were called “little arms.” This can have deep spiritual meaning for us during Lent. Since basically only flour and water are used, pretzels can remind us of fasting.   

Here is a simple recipe:


  • 1 cake yeast, 1 ½ cup warm water, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tbs. sugar, 4 cups flour



  • Dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar for about 5 minutes. Mix the flour and salt and add yeast mixture. Knead well (7-8 minutes), adding more flour if necessary to form firm dough. Let rise, covered, in a greased bowl until double. Preheat oven to 475°F. Divide dough into 32 equal parts. Roll each part into a snakelike strand, form strand into pretzel shape, and place on greased baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse salt if desired. Bake for about 10 minutes or until done.



Lent Pretzels
The Pretzel Prayer:  "Heavenly God, we ask you to bless these little breads. Each time we eat them may we be reminded of the special season we are in and that through prayer we will become better people to each other. Let us not forget those who are in need of our prayers daily. Keep your loving arms around us, O Father, to protect us always. Amen."

Lent Calendar 2021

(Click here to download a printable copy)


Three Ways to Experience Lent Through Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving


1.  Fasting and Feasting During Lent:

Make more room for God this Lent by choosing not to do some things (fasting) and by choosing to do other things (feasting).   Fasting is an integral part of Lent. Traditionally it has included reducing the amount of food we eat and abstaining from meat. We fast to allow our physical hunger to remind us of our spiritual hunger, our need for God. The purpose of fasting is to turn our attention to both God and others.

Things to fast from…

  • watching television   • buying new things: clothes, music, magazines, jewelry • snack or junk foods  • being angry at other people  • holding resentments  • gossiping  • being negative


Feasting: The dictionary defines a feast as “something that gives unusual or abundant pleasure.” Jesus tells us what gives us the most real and lasting joy: it is sharing ourselves in love for others, for our friends, our family, and also for our neighbors in need. During Lent, we pay attention to feasting on joy, compassion, service, and hope so that we might grow in faith all year long.

Things to feast on...

  • prayer  • acts of kindness to others  • forgiveness   • participating in online church offerings   • acts of service and charity  • giving money or food/clothing to people who are hungry or in need.


2.  Prayer:

  • Read the story of Palm Sunday, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, in Matthew 21:1-11 or Mark 11:1-10 or Luke 19:28-40 Gospels.
  • Read the story of the Last Supper of Jesus in chapter 13 of the Gospel of John, verses 1-15.
  • Read the story of Easter chapter 20 of the Gospel of John, verses 1-9.
  • Try a new prayer practice; dozens are described in the Ashes to Alleluia Booklet.
  • Pray the “Our Father” three times today—in the morning when you get up, at noontime, and when you go to bed.
  • Say a prayer for someone who is sick today.
  • Pray for a forgiving heart and ask the people you have hurt to forgive you.
  • List three blessings you have been given. Say a prayer to God, giving thanks for the blessings in your life.


3.  Almsgiving/Serving:

Giving to others is important throughout the year, but especially during Lent. Households can prayerfully consider what portion of their income they will share with those in need. Collecting money or food for those in need is an act of discipleship that recalls the practice of almsgiving of the early Church.  Toiletry items and non perishable food items are being collected for FISH, Pine Manor and Mission Peniel, and can be placed in the red buckets outside church.


Traditions of Lent
  • Liturgical Color is purple and is used in vestments and altar linens for penitence and royalty.


  • Ashes (prepared from the previous year’s palms symbolize our mortality and sorrow for our sins. Job (Job 42:6) and the king of Ninevah (Jonah 3:6) put ashes on their foreheads as a sign of repentance, while also wearing sackcloth.


  • Putting Away the Alleluia: The Church has the custom of not speaking or singing the word “Alleluia” during Lent. Expressing joy, putting it “away” for Lent is like putting away a favorite toy for a while –to appreciate it better later. Churches often take banners down; eliminate flowers in the sanctuary. A symbolic ritual to help children move into this season is to “say goodbye” to the Alleluia. 


  • Daily Lenten Devotional- hard copies are available at the church office, or you can download it here.


Lent Maddness

Lent Madness began in 2010 as the brainchild of the Rev. Tim Schenck. In seeking a fun, engaging way for people to learn about the men and women comprising the Church’s Calendar of Saints, Tim came up with this unique Lenten devotion which combines his love of sports with his passion for the lives of the saints. Check out the 2021 bracket, and then come here every day of Lent to keep up with your favorite saint. Clicking on the bracket will bring up a larger, up-to-date, printable one, or you can download a PDF.


Chuck Knows Church - is a series made by a Methodist minister to explain various seasons, items and symbols of the church. Ever heard, "I'm giving up sweets for Lent"?  Why does Lent make people want to give up something? And how do you calculate the 40 days of Lent? Chuck explains all those questions and more about Lent in the video above.