The season of Lent has provided a certain rhythm to the lives of Christians for twenty centuries now. Through thick and thin, Lent is a steadfast part of the journey for people of all ages. Of course, this year will be different, but there is also an opportunity to return to our roots in the early Christian community, before church buildings became normative, and the home was the principal place for gathering and growing in faith.
Here are some resources and practices to help you and your family journey through Lent, and as you do, know that many others in the Saint Mark’s community are journeying with you.
Lenten Evening Devotional
This five-minute evening service of worship is a great way to begin your evening meal or prepare for bed and can be found below on this page. A printed version of the service was mailed to parishioners in February, or you can view a pdf online here. You’ll light and then extinguish candles to acknowledge the darkness that comes before Easter light, and then at Easter, light all the candles to celebrate.
All the members of Saint Mark’s are invited to share their prayer intentions by writing them on a fabric banner and hanging them around the labyrinth on the cathedral front lawn. You can pick up fabric and a marking pen at the Saint Mark’s office or make your own with other fabric and permanent ink. Then make a prayer pilgrimage to Saint Mark's to join your prayer with the whole community. More information can be found here.
Lenten Community Book Study
Jesus and the Disinherited. Join Theologian-in-residence Canon Walter Brownridge in engaging with this foundational text exploring the Gospel as a manual of resistance for the poor and disenfranchised. Introductory presentation on Sunday, February 28 at 1 p.m.—join using this Zoom link.
Weekday Liturgical offerings via Zoom
Consider committing to attending one of the Daily Office liturgies online from home for the next six weeks—perhaps just once a week, or more—as part of your Lenten discipline. Beginning Wednesday, February 24, and every Wednesday thereafter, a new service of Morning Prayer will be offered at 8:30 a.m. (Thursday Morning Prayer at 7 a.m. continues as usual.) This means Morning Prayer is now offered twice a week, while Evening Prayer continues to be offered five times a week, M–F at 6:30 p.m. as usual.
In addition, for five Wednesdays in Lent only, a special service of Evensong (sung Evening Prayer) led by choristers of the Choir School will be offered at 4:30 p.m. These very special Zoom services are intended for the whole community, and will happen each Wednesday, from February 24 through March 24.
Stations of the Cross
The cathedral is blessed to be able to once again display the stunning sculptural interpretation of the traditional fourteen Stations of the Cross by artist Virginia Maksymowicz in the nave. This beautiful video of the "Way of the Cross" liturgy from the Book of Occasional Services was directed and edited filmmaker and community member David Wild—it is available to used as an aid to prayer at any time.
The leaflet for this service may be downloaded and printed here.
The words and music for the Taizé song The Lord is My Light are found here for use as a meal grace or prayer to begin or end the day.
Here is a video from our neighbors at St Andrew's, Green Lake, in Seattle—try singing the other parts of the round along with the singer in the video! A version of the song with all the parts of the round can be heard here.
Local candlemaker Big Dipper Waxworks makes beautiful beeswax candles in their SODO factory (and has been generous to the cathedral through the years). These might be a good choice for the liturgy below, and don't miss their sale section.
An Evening Prayer Service for Lent
This simple form of evening worship for people of all ages, a brief five minutes, is for use during Lent, February 17–April 3. It can be used at the daily evening meal or close of day, or another time. The simplicity and repetition embeds the words in our minds and hearts. We are drawn into the reflection of what Jesus has done for us, and into our own penance and devotion, as we prepare for the events of Holy Week and the joy of the Resurrection on Easter.
Place six candles, lined up, at the center of the dining table or another gathering place. Similar to the Tenebrae service on Wednesday of Holy Week, where the lights dim by steps as we head into Jesus’ Passion, you begin each time of prayer with all six candles lit—and then, at the appointed time, extinguish one each night of the first week, two the second week, and so on, experiencing the growing darkness that leads to the light of Easter.
I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel; my heart teaches me, night after night. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not fall.
All pray together:
Almighty and most merciful God, kindle within us the fire of love, that by its cleansing flame we may be purged of all our sins and made worthy to worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
EXTINGUISHING OF CANDLE
As we move toward the events of Holy Week, we extinguish one candle each week, recognizing the darkness that comes before the light of the Resurrection. In the days immediately following Ash Wednesday, keep all the candles lit. Then, extinguish one candle of the six on the nights of the first week of Lent, two candles the second week, and so on.
Conclude by saying or singing the evening hymn, known as the Nunc dimittis or “Song of Simeon,” one of the oldest Christian hymns.
Lord, you now have set your servant free
to go in peace as you have promised;
For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior,
whom you have prepared for all the world to see:
A Light to enlighten the nations,
and the glory of your people Israel.
[Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, it now and will be for ever. Amen.]
or another version, such as this one [The Hymnal 1982 # 499] :
Lord God, you now have set your servant free
to go in peace as promised in your word.
My eyes have seen the Savior, Christ the Lord,
prepared by you for all the world to see—
To shine on nations trapped in darkest night,
the glory of your people and their light.
ANTIPHON OF THE WEEK
ASH WEDNESDAYS & THE DAYS FOLLOWING:
RETURN TO THE LORD
Return to the Lord, your God, for God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.
FIRST WEEK OF LENT:
REPENT AND BELIEVE
February 21 – 27
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.
SECOND WEEK OF LENT:
February 28 – March 6
If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
THIRD WEEK OF LENT:
LISTEN to GOD’s LAW
March 7 - 13
The law of the Lord is perfect and revives the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wisdom to the innocent.
FOURTH WEEK OF LENT:
March 14 - 20
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
FIFTH WEEK OF LENT:
THE HOUR HAS COME
March 21 – 27
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
JOURNEY TO THE CROSS
March 28 – April 3
Being found in human form, Jesus humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.
Plainsong setting (Saint Mark’s)
Setting by Tyler Morse (The Evensong Choir)
Setting by David Hogan (Choir Camp)
Setting by Stephen Sturk (The Compline Choir)
Setting by Aleksandr Grechaninov (National Lutheran Choir)
If dinner follows immediately, say together the mealtime blessing for Lent:
Give us grateful hearts, O God, for all your mercies, and make us mindful of the needs of others; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.