This morning, my Lenten prayer is from the Book of Common Prayer:
Today is one of my most favorite days in the church year: Ash Wednesday. When I tell people this, they usually look at me with a bit of horror. Who enjoys the day when we wallow and get some greasy ash put on our forehead? This girl.
It is so much more than wallowing. To me, it is permission giving. We spend so much time trying to be “happy” and trying to put on a good face. But that is not real life. Real life means wrestling with lost hopes, dashed dreams and grief that lingers.
Lent is an opportunity to strain toward introspection and lean into the lengthening of days. Introspection occurs day by day as we examine our lives, our relationships and our prayers. As we inch closer to Easter, we lean into the longer days, a bit more daylight streaming into our darkened lives.
I posted this article yesterday from David Lose on Huffington Post about this very subject. Perhaps Lent is not ours, he suggests, but perhaps Lent belongs to God. And here are a few more reflections on Lent by Sister Joan Chittister. While I’m at it, this one too.
We’ve had our little Moses for almost three months now. Often at night, J, BANJ and I ask the question, “What did we do before him?” I probably slept more and did more work at home. The latter has been a healthy adjustment. The former is something we’re still working on. But because the little guy is so cute, you just can’t stay mad. When friends found him, he weighed 2.5lbs, was hungry and tired and had barely any hair. Now, Mo is 5lbs, full of energy and and a fuzzball. So because I’m feeling sentimental today (even though he kept me up most of the night) here is a before and after Moses picture.
Before-November (after Julie and Susan gave him a bath):
Last night, I headed to the 9:30Club with BANJ, CC and Deacon to see the one and only Josh Ritter. I’d never seen him before, but to say that he brought anything less than joy would be untrue. This week’s 5 Things I Love will be a special Josh Ritter edition.
1. He was so HAPPY. I’ve never been in the presence of a performer who seemed to genuinely love what he was doing so much. My friend Sarah told me it would be this way, but nothing prepared me for his toothy, wide-mouthed grin.
2. Valentine’s Day. It was sappy and it was sweet, but he read Valentines from the audience. One included a marriage proposal. Adorable.
3. The Curse. On the heels of reading valentines, he sang his song about a mummy falling in love with an archaeologist. What’s not the love?
4. The band. I was impressed with how everything they did flowed so well together. I often wonder how many hours of preparation something like that takes. They were in sync.
5. Scott Hutchison. The lead singer from Frightened Rabbit opened. Thank you Josh, for this treat.
I feel breathless these days. I need a week to catch up and Ash Wednesday just keeps inching closer and closer, which leads us minister-types into the throws of Lent and Easter preparation.
I had the fortunate opportunity to go to Miami last week with the Lewis Fellows (best trip ever in January). We visited four churches- all of which are doing good work and I felt like I could walk away with something tangible to take with me. It is fascinating to me the work we do transcends cultures, cities and denominations.
But this week, I turn my mind to Waco. I’ll be attending Truett’s Homecoming and the Winter Pastors’ School with Richard Hays. I’m hoping it welcomes me with above average temperatures (although it appears that it will be cold and rainy when I’m there). That’s ok. What it will welcome me with is good tex-mex, bbq, people who know me well, a university that is such an important part of who I am and a community I long for most days. It’s always different when I go back, but I spent such a significant part of my adult life there that it still feels like home.
I’ll get my rental car and cruise down 35 wishing I had just flown into Waco and feel completely weirded out that I am in Texas and completely normal all at the same time. I’ve been told that we are always feeling multiple things at once and we should embrace it instead of try to isolate one feeling. So, I think that’s what I’ll do in Waco this week.
I’ll take the old and the new and the bbq and the huge trucks. And I’ll sit with the people who are life-giving to me and let my soul be filled.
It’s been way too long since I’ve posted and I’ve heard from my adoring public (all two of you who read this blog) and I know I need to get to posting again. Christmas seems to have been an unintentional block in my writing. Every day I’ve made a goal to write a post and so far in 2011, no such luck. I even signed up for WordPress’ post a day when they send you ideas. Just a writing funk as the rest of life is quite wonderful these days.
I have many posts brewing and the goal is to post some in the next week about Lewis Fellows in Miami, sacred moments in ministry, February as concert month and music as the soundtrack to my theology.
Jenny and Morgan, now I’ve got your interest. But I must go to bed now since I’ll be getting up at 2:45am in hopes to secure that first round of iPhones for Verizon customers.
1. iPhone for Verizon? Might it be true today? Please, God. The announcement is supposed to come at 11am. There are few things that I have ever wanted in life. An iPhone is one of those things. I also know should this not happen tomorrow, my life will continue just as nicely.
2. Snow (not on Saturdays). Bring it on you crazy winter storm from the south. I’m just so thankful this isn’t happening on a Saturday like all other snow storms have in the last year. It makes getting to church on Sunday quite difficult.
3. Sermon on the Mount. We are about to undertake an eight-week sermon series, a Winter Bible Study and a Sunday School Class on the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is wild n out in this sermon. I’m up to my eyeballs in the Gospel of Matthew, my Greek New Testament and I am so happy. Thankful in these moments for teachers like Dr. David Garland and Dr. Charles Talbert.
4. Gregory Alan Isakov. Because obviously I needed to discover more new music yesterday, my pandora station played this guy. Stable Song hits my heart. Why didn’t I know of him already? Good question. And of course, he’s coming to Sixth and I in February.
5. Florida in January and Texas in February. I love these trips for many reasons, but especially to head to warmer climates in the winter to see people that I love!