Fr. Rob sometimes shares a small theological musing to help form our faith and remind us of what we believe as Episcopalians. This is a compilation of those reflections.

Why Do We Veil the Cross and Statues During Lent?

The season of Lent was originally a season in which people who had been expelled from the congregation because of their notorious sins were given a chance to confess their sins, do penance, and be reconciled to the company of the faithful at the Easter Vigil. As the season evolved, it became a time when all Christians were asked to confess their sins, do penance, pray and do good works, and so recommit themselves to Christ and the Church in order to celebrate the joys of the Resurrection of Christ as fully reconciled children of God.

In the ninth century, it became customary to veil the High Altar during the season of Lent as a visual reminder of how our sins separate us from God. This custom continues in some places, but in most places the custom was modified and only crosses and statues were covered.

Veiled crosses and statues are a visual reminder of the penitential nature of Lent. When we enter the church and see the veils we instantly feel the unnaturalness of hiding these beautiful images which are meant to be a conduit through which we experience a glimpse of God’s beauty. This calls to mind the unnatural blindness that sin brings to us: Sin hides the beauty of God in the world and in our hearts. Sin places a pall over all of creation obscuring from our sight the true presence and glory of God that permeates our lives. We remove the veils at Easter as a reminder that only the grace of Christ’s resurrection and the liberating love of God can remove the veils that sin has placed over our hearts, heal our blindness, and reveal to us God’s presence in our lives- still, as St. Paul wrote, like looking through a cracked mirror- but in faith and hope when we will behold the beauty of God face to face, unveiled in resplendent glory.

Please note: we do not veil the Stations of the Cross. If you have crucifixes and statues in your home, you might consider veiling them during the season of Lent. It will call to mind the call to repentance, and fill your hearts with the anticipation of Easter.


Rogationtide is a short season within the larger Easter celebration in which we celebrate God’s love for the created world, and ask for God’s blessing, in particular, on seeds, farms, and human labor which brings the fruits of the earth to our tables. It is an ancient celebration, which obviously was a more integrated part of the religious experience of people living in agrarian societies. In those cultures, the priest would “beat the bounds” of the parish by leading a procession around the physical boundaries of the parish, and blessing all of the lands.

This Sunday we will do this in a symbolic way as we process from the nave out to the lawn in front of the bell tower and offer prayers asking for God’s blessing on the created world. We will also ask for God to continue to bless the earth where the physical remains of those who have been buried in our memorial garden are at rest. This is a reminder of our connection to nature- to the dust to which we will all return- as well as a celebration of the renewed life given to us in baptism which will continue in resurrected life beyond the grave.

Living the Resurrection

During the forty days of Lent, we spent time in prayer and self-reflection, considering the ways we turn away from the way of love that Jesus has asked us to walk in and asking for God’s grace to turn back to God. We discerned which habits we need to eliminate from our life because they distract us from Love, and which practices we need to incorporate into our lives because they empower us to Love.

The fifty days of our Easter celebration offer us an opportunity to incorporate those changes into our daily lives- to practice walking in Love, and to imagine what the world will be like when God’s Reign of Love holds sway. It is an opportunity to cooperate with God’s grace, through prayer and good works, so that the fruit of our Lenten repentance can begin to bear fruit in our lives.

We are about halfway through our Easter journey. What places in your life or in the world remain imprisoned by death and sin? What practices can you incorporate into your daily living to expose those places to the liberating Love and new life that the Resurrected Christ offers?

May the grace of this holy season center us all in the lifegiving heart of God, and empower us to live the Resurrection, trusting that through our surrender to the Holy Spirit, God is transforming us more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ.