Refreshment Sunday Brings Roses and Simnel Cake to Epworth This Sunday
March 9, 2015
Next Sunday, the fourth in Lent, is known as Laetare Sunday, from the traditional introit in the Eucharist service, "Laetare, Jerusalem," "Rejoice ye with Jerusalem." Laetare Sunday, also known as Refreshment Sunday, is a time for a brief relaxing of the rules, such as the restriction against having flowers on the altar or dietary restrictions and the addition of rose vestments to the severe Lenten purple.
Simnel cake is a light fruitcake with a marzipan filling and topping with eleven "Apostles balls" of marzipan on the top— for the eleven apostles left after Judas betrayed Christ. Our cake will also have a decoration of white icing in the center to symbolize Christ.
Laetare Sunday is also known as Mothering Sunday in the UK because in earlier days it was the custom for girls in service to return to their mothers— and to mother church— on the fourth Sunday in Lent. It was also tradition for the girls to bake and take to their mothers a simnel cake
In keeping with these traditions, Epworthies will notice some changes in the service this Sunday. Pastor Thelander will be wearing a rose-colored stole, there will be roses on the rerdos, and we will enjoy simnel cake with our tea and coffee during Afterword. Come and refresh with us.
Further, Laetare— or Refreshment Sunday— is also a time to relax, to take a deep breath, and to renew our Lenten disciplines. Especially if one has perhaps not been able to carry out their Lenten intentions with the vigor they had hoped, the message is to rejoice, not to despair. There's still time.
With the object of reinvigorating our Lenten journey, here is what Pastor Brook Thelander challenged us to think about as we began this season. These questions and thoughts are as appropriate for Laetare Sunday as for the first Sunday in Lent:
What Do You Want God to Do in You or for You This Lent?
Or, What Does He Want to Do in You or for You?
Do you sense that God has something He wants to accomplish with you this Lent? Is there progress or growth in your walk with Him? Or has there been an accumulation of stagnation?
Much of the purpose of Lent is to encourage us not just to be the same old, same old, but instead consciously to open ourselves to spiritual housecleaning.
Spiritual disciplines and practices can help us to do that, but they can't help us if we don't exercise them. They can be both corporate and private, but for centuries the Church has offered and emphasized corporate disciplines, because there is particular strength in our joining together; the total is greater than the sum of the parts.
Epworth offers one of those corporate disciplines every Lent: Lenten Evening Prayers. This is a discipline we can practice together, and in our doing so we gain a promised benefit, through the mystery of which Jesus spoke, "where two or three are gathered together, there am I". In his words, he promised us something different when we pray together: Himself, uniquely present.
Whatever it is that you want God to do for yourself, your family or Epworth, or whatever it is that He has in mind, is that more likely to occur if we pray together? By his word, we must believe that the answer is yes.
Let's therefore be faithful to his presence, and practice together the discipline of Lenten Evening Prayers, as a congregation, each Tuesday and Thursday in Lent.
We look forward to seeing you at 10:00 Sunday morning at Epworth Chapel as we rejoice and refresh together.