Lent has never really been something that has appeared on my spiritual life radar much.
My dad grew up in the Presbyterian church (in NY state) and so when we visited my grandparents one year (perhaps march break) I remember helping my grandma serve Lenten luncheons at her church. I had no idea what I was doing, but I loved serving people (pretending to be a waitress) and I got to have my own little plate at the end of the day and eat with all the ‘dressed up’ ladies.
my friend is studying to be a United church pastor, and she often informs me about the ‘ways’ of the mainline church. She also informs me about the reading ‘schedule’ that many of those churches follow for the church calendar, which is a wonderful way of being introduced to similar ideas throughout the year and yet continues to delve deep into the Lord’s word.
so this year I decided I needed to do something different. alot of the blogs that I read had been mentioning Lent and I was particularly struck by Margaret Fienburg‘s statement:
Originally, Lent was designed as a time of preparation and worship for the believer. The forty days before Easter were set aside for penitence, prayer, and self-denial….But maybe the question we need to ask as we enter Lent isn’t, “What are you giving up for Lent?” as much as “What do you want to lay hold of during Lent?” The wonders of God are waiting for you during Lent. This season is laced with opportunity that will stir your hunger to know God more. How will you lay hold of the wonders of Lent? Beginning on February 13, we have the opportunity to spend 40 days passionately pursuing God. How will you choose to seek God during this time? What expressions will your desire for God take? What do you want to lay hold of in greater measure through Lent?
When I begin something that I’m really excited about there is always the tendency to want to get it right. I mean do it the right way the first time. I’m all about perfection, i know, something that I’m still working through. And so in some sense I think that part of the giving up, besides an actual physical think that I will notice missing in my life (facebook) that perhaps it will also include a surrendering of the desire to be perfect, to do things perfect and to just BE and to just learn…and while that probably looks messy, there is no idea of striving for perfection in reflecting on our Lord’s journey towards the cross, that perhaps this will refresh my heart in its desire to know that there is a fallen-ness that is only redeemed through the beauty and horror of Easter’s celebration and mourning previous to the Lord’s resurrection.
she further states: take some time today to ask God what He’s calling you toward. and to me there is quiet in this. Staying quiet and listening are to things that I have a hard time doing. I know that to be a good friend that listening to hear what people are truly saying (not just their words) is an important thing. And I’m not too fond of silence, for some reason I often feel the need to fill up the space with words. But sometimes I find that I’m so busy talking at God that I don’t have time to stop and listen to Him. and then I wonder why it seems that its been so long since He and I last communicated in a way that I thought I began to even understand where He’s coming from.
some other thoughts that I’m reflecting on today:
Consolation of Mirth’s Ash Wednesday poem:
The ancient ash marks a weary brow.
This is not shame but blessing.
Line on line a simple cross;
Marked as one of God’s own. […]
Throw off the coverings.
They weigh you down.
Dust swirls in the light.
To dust, to dust, to dust…
you shall return.
We buckle under the weight,
and forget the blessing;
The miracle of what God can do
with the old dust.
Where the cosmos was gathered.
and from Common Prayer:
O Love that keeps the heavens turning : draw us to you in all our yearnings.
a good reminder:
…so rare to have the opportunity to be intentional about seeking the Lord.