Every weekday at 10:55 a.m. a general announcement is made over the intercom at The Ottawa Mission by our Chaplain, Cosmas Ajawara: “Chapel service begins in five minutes. Everyone is welcome.”
People staying at the shelter, and people who live in the community join together to routinely fill the fifty chapel seats for this daily half hour of prayer, bible readings and song, and it’s always a special treat for staff and visitors to hear music and singing voices throughout the building.
The Lenten season leading up to Easter is an especially important time of the year for those who attend our chapel services. This is reflected in the observance of Ash Wednesday at the beginning of Lent, and in special bible readings and songs. The last two weeks of Lent focus on Jesus’ final days on earth, and on Good Friday the film “The Son of God” will be shown. The season will culminate in a special celebration of the risen Lord on Easter Monday, April 6 when we expect to serve 2500 meals to anyone who is hungry or alone. The gratitude of those who attend this celebration is something our staff and volunteers carry with them in their hearts through Easter and beyond.
A lot of us observe Lent by making a personal sacrifice of some sort – like giving up special treats. For those who are homeless, hungry and hurting, sacrifice is a constant in their lives, something they live with every day. And the strength they show in enduring many hardships, in constantly striving to make better lives for themselves, and in maintaining their faith throughout, is something we can all learn from – during Lent and all year round.