Lent has many dimensions as it calls us to fast, pray and give alms. One way we express the many dimensions of the Season is through our Church environment. The following is a reflection from our Environment Committee:
Lent is upon us, and guidelines stress the solemnity of the season. That is why we do not ordinarily celebrate the joyful sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, First Eucharist, or Confirmation) or the Sacraments of Service (Matrimony or Holy Orders) during this six-week period. Decorating guidelines also remind us that we are not a department store window to be dressed and adorned, regardless of the season. During Lent even funeral flowers are removed when the Liturgy is concluded. Environment should always point to the Liturgy of the Word proclaimed at the lectern and the Liturgy of the Eucharist celebrated at the altar. This Lent we are attempting to highlight visually one symbol from each of our Sunday readings. Please notice that symbol, listen for it in the readings, and take the image home with you to practice during the week. When the dawn of Easter arrives, hopefully our hearts will burst with grace and reflect the loveliness of the flowers that once more will surround our environment. In ancient times the narthrex, or what we today call the vestibule or gathering space at the main entrance of our church, was a place for penitents and candidates for Baptism to remain until they were able to be fully catechized into the faith. Here at St. Luke’s we use our main entrance as a transition area from the pressures of the outside world into the peace of the spiritual life found in our worship. At various times in the liturgical year (notably Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter) we try to help in this transformation with banners or flowers. As we turn our hearts more fully toward God this Lent, we hope the environment helps check out our cares and sins at the doors as we enter and enable us to go forth back into the world prepared to fast, pray, and give alms with a happy heart.