Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lent, Ashes, and Figure Skating


Last night was the annual Ash Wednesday service at the church. I've tried some non-traditional things in this service, like have people come forward to plant seeds, in the hopes of symbolizing the new growth that lenten practices of prayer, study and sacrifice can bring. Last night we went fairly traditional with the imposition of ashes and partaking in communion.

I'm trying a couple of things for lenten practice, because personal discipline, as in structure, is not my strong suit. For instance, while some must finish a book that they have started before they move on, I get a little bored and move on... so that right now I think I have 5 books going. Sticking through on a plan isn't my strongest suit. So lent has always been a challenge because adding a practice or taking away a habit for 40 days really requires sticking to your plan.

So here is my plan... we'll see how it goes.
My Lenten sermon series is entitle 'God at the Center' and the first thing I will ask the congregation to do is make a map of their life patterns by answering questions about their priorities(which will lead to a discussion about who our gods really are you see); what can't they live without, what do they look forward to most, where do they spend the most time, money, energy. I did this mapping myself and was ashamed at how much time I spent in front of the TV. So I'm giving myself 1 hr of tv time a day. I think. Yeah, 1 hr. see, I'm wavering already. I'll watch TV just for the sake of watching TV. I'll watch a fishing show, and I have no interest in fishing shows, before I'll turn it off. terrible habit.

Second, I've had in my possession Phyllis Tickles 'The Divine Hours' a prayerbook for praying the Divine Hours, for years. I've used it now and again, on and off, occasionally. So for lent I am going to carry the sprintime volume with me wherever I go and follow its prayers throughout the day.

Finally I am going to work on memorizing scripture. My mom taught me to do this when I was little. I'm teaching my boys now. My Dad and I were watching the Olympics the other night, figure skating, which I don't think is a sport really, but that is a post for another time. Anyway, he remarked at how amazing it was that the skaters could remember such intricate routines. I replied that memory is like a muscle, the more you use is the stronger it gets, the less the weaker. The hypocrisy of my statement hit me. I'm not exercising my memory. Those of you who know me know that exercise isn't my favorite thing anyway. So I'm memorizing Ps 63 right now.

There you have it; cut down on TV, pray the hours, memorize Ps 63.
What are you going to do for Lent?
If you are hesitant to do anything, PLEASE read this post over at Talk With the Preacher. I met this pastor while at St. Charles Ave. Baptist Church in NOLA and this Ash Wednesday reflection is one of the most beautiful pieces I have read. I wish I'd written it and know you will enjoy. My only complaint about her blog is that she doesn't write more.
Wishing a Blessed Lent to my two faithful readers!

1 comment:

Charles said...

Your post looked lonely without a response! I find it very interesting that you (and many other folks) are finding "traditional" revitalizing. While, as a Baptist, I find some of the high church practices a little unnerving, I do appreciate the return to "traditional practices." There are many other spiritual disciplines that are useful all year round (see Foster... A Celebration of ...!

I hope you had a lot out for the service!