Monday, February 18, 2013

Lent 2013

One of the most helpful things I found in the weeks leading up to Lent was this video posted from my friend Tonya.  It's incredibly dry but informative and helpful.  Maybe I was meant to be Lutheran.

Anyway, I started thinking about my Lenten disciplines and how they fit into the four historical Lenten disciplines in the church.  This rubric was really great for helping me check myself and see if I was covering all the bases.  And because I never really feel like I'm ready for Lent until I've written down my intentions, here goes:

1.  Prayer

2.  Service
  • The family is using the Lenten World Hunger Calendar again this year.  We did this a few years ago and the kids really liked it.  We slacked off last year, for obvious reasons, but they seem excited to do it again.  It involves scripture reading, prayer, and donation of money every day.
  • We are also going to participate in the Giving (Up) campaign at our church to support our Habitat for Humanity building project.  We've pledged to give a day of working on the house, to pray, and to give financially.
3.  Study
  • My goal this year is to memorize Psalm 51.  If I get through that, I'll probably try for another of the Lenten texts.
  • Oh, and I also have three more books to read and multiple papers to write before my cohort reconvenes in June, if we're talking about that kind of studying.
4.  Fasting
  • I was never much of a shopper until I started working again, and now I could spend all day on Zulily, eBay, and Shop it to Me.  During Lent I've decided that not only am I not going to buy...I'm not even going to look.  I need to fast from it because I spend to much time doing it, and it has been skewing my already-wrong view of what my priorities should be. 
  • I am fasting from speaking to my kids in any way other than the way I want their tapes to sound.   In other words, if the words I speak to them now are the words that are going to be knocking around in their heads, 30 years from now, I want those words to be gracious and life-giving.  I'm fasting from words that aren't.
  • I'm fasting from computer and phone while my kids are awake.  It's distracting and it sets a bad example.
So, that's about it.  I've failed in every area already.  

Have a holy and blessed Lent!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A New Lenten Season

I just reread this post, written on Ash Wednesday 2012, apparently just hours before we found out that Jay had been placed on the transplant list.  It's kind of funny that I didn't wait to write the post, knowing that we would likely get a phone call that night.

This time of preparation for Lent has been much different than last year.  I actually enjoyed the Mardi Gras Kids' Parade this year instead of standing in the middle of the street feeling lost and mute.  And I preached at the evening Ash Wednesday service this year, instead of sitting in the pew and weeping.  

Oh, there was weeping this year, just not from the pew.  

I expected that this Ash Wednesday I would be smiling at the memory of the life-changing news that we had received just a year before, but instead I felt fairly contemplative and not very chatty.  I wrote a sermon that I figured would do but I wasn't really on fire about it.  During dinner prior to the service I remembered standing up on a chair in the middle of our fellowship hall and yelling to anyone who would listen that Jay had been placed on the list.  And while I was preaching I remembered sitting in the pew with Jay who, when he was reminded that he was dust, and that he would return to dust, wept openly.  And then I sort of lost it.  I only had about five sentences of my sermon left, so I powered through, but it took me by surprise.  I know that anniversaries of major events carry a lot of emotion, but I didn't think I'd get choked up given that the news we received a year ago was so happy. 

But I sure did.  

It's really incomprehensible that it's been a year since we got the news.  It made for a pretty meaningful Lent, that's for sure.  I remember telling my colleagues when we returned from the transplant evaluation not to be surprised if Jay actually had the transplant during Lent.  It just seemed appropriate.  And sure enough, Lent was our waiting season, and Easter was our first time back in church as a family.

It was meaningful, yes, but Jay and I have agreed that a not-so-meaningful Lent would be just fine this year.