Friday, March 4, 2011
Katherynjz is just back from the Revgal cruise and is facing Lent. So she prepared this FF for us:
What are some things you appreciate about the season of Lent? Perhaps you would share 5 of them with us. And for your bonus question feel free to share one thing you could do without.
There is part of me that could say that I could do without Lent… But I will play according to the rules since I did not get to feel the sea breeze with my sisters.
1. Purple—I love the church when it is clothed in purple. It is as if church is a bit more serious, a bit more elegantly solemn. It isn’t sad or overtly penitential. Episcopalians aren’t too sure there is sin so penitence isn’t as heavy as it was in the RCC. But when the cross is draped in purple and the vestments are deeply rich with color there is less chattering, and a quiet expectation in the building even when there is no service going on.
2. Ashes---placing ashes on my friends foreheads is a powerful ritual for me. While it does remind me and them “that you are dust and to dust you will return”, there is always someone who I mark who will be dust by next year. Embracing my mortality and my friends’ mortality is part of Lent. Last night I got a call from a childhood friend. In a matter of two weeks both of her parents had died. I had buried her husband’s mother in December. So in a matter of two months they had lost 3 parents. I spent some time on the phone just listening to her grief. I am thankful I can do that for folks—especially those friends from my childhood. It is a type of bonding that crosses years.
3. Intensity of the season—both Advent and Lent are intense when one is a pastor of a parish. People bring harder issues to you during the season. There is a tendency to want to avoid them, but I have always appreciated their trust to use me as a sounding board or even as a ‘dumping station’. I am noticing that even though I don’t have a parish now, there are those who seek me out to enter their lives of faith in a more intense way. I am glad to do that and I also seek others who can do that for me.
4. Educationally stimulating—Lent is when we have more educational opportunities in our denomination. In my denomination, adult education is often lax, but folks are willing to attend programs during Lent. I am teaching a course in one parish and am assisting on another topic in another parish. It forces me to study and prepare and I come into contact with other opinions than my own. It calls me to change.
5. Reforming—it is the time when I do consciously take myself to task about my own failings. I generally take on one and ask for help to reform or redeem it. That is the reason I love the reading of the Transfiguration just before Lent.
Bonus What do I NOT like in the season? Blustery weather, people who give up chocolate, some times the lectionary becomes redundant, too many meetings--I have never understood why there are so many meetings during Lent when it is one of the busiest seasons for clergy. We are even having clergy conference during Lent! Blag!