"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday

Growing up in the ALC, we had church services on Ash Wednesday, but we never had ashes put on our foreheads or anything like that. I also wasn't aware of anybody giving up anything for lent.

I'm interested in knowing how the other branches of Laestadianism handled (or did not handle) the season of Lent.

I'm also interested in what spiritual practices you might be doing now that you're an ex-Laestadian.

I usually go to Ash Wednesday services, but tonight I can't due to a scheduling conflict. Can anyone recommend any good online Lenten resources I might do in lieu of attending services?


  1. I have no memories of Lent growing up in the OALC, with the exception that some of the Laestadius sermons were dated "first Sunday after Lent", or "second Sunday after Lent", etc. Lent meant absolutely nothing to me.

  2. When I joined the Catholic Church was the first time I learned anything about Ash Wednesday-Lent-Palm-Sunday-Easter Triduum. In the OALC I learned nothing of this, much less the Bible in general. Yes I knew what Good Friday and Easter was, but that was about it. Seriously, I learned next to NOTHING about Christianity when I was in the OALC. This time of year celebrates the heart and soul of what it is to be Christian. If your Church isn't seriously driving home every aspect of Christ's 40 days in the desert, His journey into Jerusalem, his Passion, death and ressurrection - then you ought to find a different Church.

  3. In my experience, Lent is sometimes mentioned by the Finnish OALC preachers in the sermons in the same way as Advent before Christmas, i.e. it was a time of preparation for the upcoming feast, but it was never indicated that it would include any real fasting from food. It is sometimes visible in the choice of hymns, but usually it's just a word without any concrete significance or consequences.


    In the Orthodox church the Great Lent before Easter is a time of repentance, prayer and frequent church services, accompanied with fasting from all animal products (incl. meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy) as well as alcohol. It's spiritually a very uplifting period of time, and that's why Orthodox Christians usually look forward to it (in spite of having to give up some food items).

  4. Forgot to say that in addition to excluding animal products, fasting also means eating less than usual. Traditionally, from Monday to Friday, only one meal per day is eaten in the evening after the sunset (two meals on Saturday and Sunday). Nowadays, few people follow that strict a practice, but some still do. This year I'll try skipping breakfast during the Great Lent, so lunch will be my first meal of the day, and not eating any warm meal in the evening. We'll see how that goes... However, on those days when we want to receive communion in the evening, we preferably don't eat anything the whole day until in the evening after receiving communion, but something can be eaten before noon if one is not able to fast all day.

  5. hibernatus, when is Lent and Easter for Eastern Christians this year? I know that its usually different than Western Christians.

  6. Many Anglicans/Episcopalians give up things or take things on for Lent, but it is completely up to the individual.

    This year I'm giving up eating outside of mealtime (this is also a reinvigoration of a failed New Year's Resolution :-) and taking on daily prayer through the Sacred Space web site, an interactive prayer developed by some Jesuits.

  7. I recall that as a child, my parents would carefully observe a number of religious holidays even though there never were OALC church services on those days. If they did not refrain from all work, they generally kept it to a minimum as an observance. We always referred to them by their Finnish names. I do not remember all of them, but some were Loppiainen (Epiphany), Juhannus (St John's or Midsummer's Day), Marianpaiva (a Sami holiday, St Mary's day), Helatorstai (Ascension), Tapaninpaiva (Boxing day, day after Christmas),Pitkaperiantai (Good Friday), and of course the major holidays of Paasiainen(Easter), and Joulu (Christmas). I know my folks also mentioned Vappu (May Day) but that didn't have a religious correlation that I know of.

  8. Tomte, the Eastern Orthodox Easter will be April 27 this year. However, in the 1920s the Orthodox church of Finland was persuaded by the state to start having it on the same day as the Western Christians, so we will have Easter on March 23 this year, just like all Western Christians. The Orthodox church of Finland is the only Orthodox church that has it on the Western date, all the other Orthodox churches will have April 27. So, we in Finland already started the Great Lent last Sunday evening, while the rest of the Orthodox around the world will not begin until March 9.

    Some years, like last year, and I think also next year, the Eastern and Western Easter are on the same date, though.

  9. Bunless said......

    "When I joined the Catholic Church was the first time I learned anything about Ash Wednesday-Lent-Palm-Sunday-Easter Triduum. In the OALC I learned nothing of this, much less the Bible in general." AND "I learned next to NOTHING about Christianity when I was in the OALC."

    I think you got to hung up on the perceived "rules" and you were blinded to any other teachings of that church...I know several people who are members and they are certainly Christians and are very knowledgeable about various Church Holidays. I work with one OALC member, two Catholics, one Missouri Synod Lutheran, and we discussed Lent the other day at lunch. This giving up something for Lent seems to be practiced in an outward way by primarily Catholics. The two I work with were giving up Drinking and Smoking respectively. Both have since broken that and laughed about it at work the other day. The majority (not all) of Catholics I have known know what lent is and also the near majority (in my experience) make a big joke out of it. Catholics in general seem to live a very free life and don't "practice what they preach". Many have a pretty good intellectual knowledge of the Bible and religion in general, but hardly any seem to have much care or concern about their own soul salvation. These so called oppressive Lutheran groups you all rip on here teach right from wrong based on the teachings of the Bible AND they practice it....is that wrong? Are they doing harm to you anymore now that you are free of it? I wonder why you all are so hung up on this? Is this your religion? Like I said I know many OALC, Laestadians, First Apostolics, WELS Lutherans, etc...some of the so-called stricter groups. I have been to some of the services and I have always been welcomed warmly. I haven't found anything wrong with what is spoken there. The ones that I work with have shown a good example to me and invited me to services. The OALC member I work with told me to check out these various websites. Holy cow! You have all done a great disservice to these people based on the content of this website with the half-truths and exagerations I have seen here. Obviously you experienced something different than I have, but I didn't think it would have been this drastic. I will explore some more!

  10. Dear Anonymous 2:16,

    Our experiences are NOT exaggerations and half-truths. They are OUR experiences, not yours. You may feel welcomed and free with these folks. That is good. I can't help but wonder, though, if you were to make a True Repentance and demonstrate a Truly Contrite Heart, then you may notice a slight change in attitude toward you, for they would feel they have permission to point out the error of your ways ( where you do not act and dress and think exactly like they do).

    I left many, many, many years ago. I still attend church when I visit my mother. Everyone is very friendly and kind to me. I dress and act to fit in, and I try to be as inconspicuous as possible. Frankly, I think that's why they are nice to me (my cynicism showing!).

    I don't know if you are male or female, but I suspect that may also make a difference.


  11. Anon 2:16
    I don't know how many times I have seen OALC apologists post here to dispute our personal OALC experiences. Like SISU said, these are not our opinions, these are our experiences!
    I spent many decades in the OALC and know it well. If you have been to one or two services only, you can't possibly understand what it is like to be a member.
    Of course you are greeted warmly at first, but the control and legalistic practices you will be exposed to if you join are , in my opinion, intolerable.
    I think you are a good person and are trying to protect a friend, but please don't judge us here as a bunch of hateful people out to disparage these Laestadian churches. These are our experiences! We lived it! Most of us for most of our lives!
    If you really want to learn about these churches, go back and read the archived posts for the last 3 years or so. I believe your eyes will be opened.
    God Bless.

  12. All faiths have members who set poor examples. There are Catholics who make a mockery of Lent. There are OALC who make a mockery of Christianity.

    To Anon 2:16 - I dont know if you are male or female but I guarantee you are not a black or a hispanic or any other racial minority.

    Did you notice any minorities when you attended the OALC services? They don't exist. That should be a red flag.

  13. Visiting a church a few times is like going on the first few dates with someone new. People generally want to make a good first impression, whether they'll admit to it or not. It's just human nature.

    Being a member for a long time and then leaving the church is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, and will be a completely different experience.

    Going on that date might make you think that this person is a great potential mate. Suppose you get involved with that person, but find out later that they are quite abusive and you leave them. You cannot understand how you will feel at the end of the relationship just from going on a couple of dates with that person, any more than you can know how we feel now just from visiting the church a few times and getting to know a few people.

    It's like looking at a family that you know on a casual basis and deciding that they are the ideal family. However, when you get to know them on an everyday basis and they get comfortable with you, you'll be allowed to see that they have their differences just like everyone else. You find out that the parents argue occasionally, and the kids misbehave, and on and on.

    The old saying about walking a mile in another person's shoes before you judge them is still around for a good reason. It's true. Sorry, but your arrogance is showing.

  14. Wow daisy, that is a really good analogy.