Sunday, February 19 was Sexagesima (Latin for sixtieth) or the second Sunday before Lent, approximately sixty days before Easter. After the bright colors and profusion of flowers during the Christmas and Epiphany seasons, reflecting the joyousness of those seasons, the altar has taken on a more sober tone reflecting the seriousness of this pre-Lenten season; colors are dark unadorned blue and altar flowers are not permitted. The altar and vestment colors and appointments are not merely decorative, but are based on two thousand years of Christian symbolism and practice and are meaningful aspects of our worship. Bishop Hartley noted that the scripture lessons during this season teach us how to see God’s kingdom and how we are to be a part of it. Last week the lesson was on the harvest time of hard work both for physical and spiritual harvest. This week’s lessons teach us that God’s kingdom requires patience. The Gospel lesson, St. Luke 8:4, is the Parable of the Sower; parables are earthly stories with a heavenly or spiritual meaning. In this story the sower broadcasts seeds that fall on different types of ground and some produce and some do not. The spiritual meaning is that some people understand the message of God’s kingdom and some do not; the different soils represent the different hearts and minds of different people. Our job is to decide which type we will be.
During prayer time Bishop Hartley said the birthday prayer for Tom McSwain and the wedding anniversary prayer for Leo and Carrie Compton. He noted that next Sunday will be pancake day, ending the pre-Lenten season and Lent will begin on Wednesday March 1 when we will have our traditional Ash Wednesday service at 7:00 p.m. and everyone is invited.
For information on St. Francis Anglican (Traditional Episcopal) Church visit our website at stfrancisavamo.org.