Katherine Daniel ~ Editor-in-Chief
On Wednesday, March 6, the University of Lynchburg will hold Ash Wednesday services in Snidow Chapel to mark the beginning of Lent. There will be two services at 12:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
According to The United Methodist Church website, “Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten, which means ‘spring.’ The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.”
Chaplain and Director of Church Relations and Disciples on Campus/UCC Advisor, Rev. Stephanie McLemore, said, “As University Chaplain, my call is to provide resources to this community for spiritual growth. Our University community is diverse religiously, but majority Christian. Easter is the holiest day in the Christian year and Lent is an important season of preparation. I want to offer students and our community a way to prepare reflectively for the celebration of Easter. Ash Wednesday is a reminder of my own mortality. When you receive the mark of ashes you are reminded, ‘you are from dust and from dust you shall return’ It is a solemn reminder that I am here but a short time and that I need to live my best life. I need to act because of my faith and work hard to change my part of the world for the better.”
McLemore also said, “Ash Wednesday Services at the University have been going on for decades. As Wednesday marks the first day of the Christian season of Lent, the season of repentance and preparation for Easter. It is our tradition on campus to offer a noon service and an evening Service. Kayla Serratone, Catholic Campus Minister, will be leading those services.”
She noted that, “these services follow a general liturgy that is open to anyone. This is the third year for ‘Ashes on the Go.’ Members of the community that would like to receive the mark of ashes but who cannot attend a service are welcome to come to one of the three stations. Ashes on the Go—March 6th will be held in Schewel Hall Lobby from 9:30 – 10:15 a.m. & 3 – 4 p.m. and in Drysdale 3rd floor: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.”
McLemore also mentioned, “For many years (at least 15) the Spiritual Life center has subscribed to a devotion service for Advent and Lent to offer a daily devotion to our University Community. This Lent we are offering devotions from Goshen College. Anyone may sign up by contacting Christie Rapp. New this year we are offering “Lenten Devotions on the Go”. Beginning Wednesday folks can pick up a devotion kit for the week at the Prayer Wall in Schewel Hall. The first kit will be a Lenten calendar with colored pencils and a suggested activity. Many people “give up” a vice or “take on” a spiritual disciple for Lent and I want to offer a simple way for students to engage in a practice by providing a devotion and materials every week.”
“The services will be in the chapel and will include a few scripture readings, prayers, a bit of singing and the imposition of ashes. The imposition of ashes is the liturgical name for marking the forehead with ashes in the sign of the cross. The ashes are made by burning the palm branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. Worshipers may choose to have their hand marked if they are uncomfortable with receiving ashes on their forehead. The stations are literally walk up. Anyone can come for a brief word of scripture, the imposition of ashes and a blessing. ‘Lenten Devotions on the Go’ will be available at each location,” said McLemore.
The Spiritual Life will also offer Holy Week Services, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and “Sunrise” Easter Service at 7 a.m. in Friendship Circle. All events are open to the University community and the wider community as well. The events are open to all people of any age.
For more information contact Spiritual Life at firstname.lastname@example.org.