Friday, March 4, 2011

FF: Quadrigessima

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!


kathrynzj said...

You are certainly correct about the increase in duties - beloved and mandatory - during Lent. Thank you for the reminder of the color of the season.

Thanks for playing!

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Five things I love about Lent:

1. Purple. It is, after all, my favorite color. (Most folks assume it is red b/c for 29 years I have owned red pickup trucks...but finding trucks in purple is kinda hard.)

2. The collect for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, particularly the line, "Grant your people grace to
love what you command and desire what you promise."

3. Contemplating stuff. I don't feel like it's "wasteful woolgathering" during Lent.

4. How Northeast Missouri sort of "greens up" more and more with each week of Lent. Most years, we start out in the snow and gray skies and by Easter we have daffodils and green grass.

5. Sort of the reverse of #4. Our tradition in my parish is to have less and less music with each week in Lent until we become essentially silent on Holy Week...then we literally explode into song on Easter morning!

The five things I don't like coming up....

Kirkepiscatoid said...

The five things I DON'T like about Lent:

1. Rushing through the Stations of the Cross. I would like to do it about 1/3 the speed most people do it, because I want to sit and contemplate. Sometimes I stay after and do it again, at "my" speed.

2. The attitudes of people who avoid Ash Wednesday. They get all hung up on "I'm not dirty, I'm not having dirty ashes put on me," but neglect that we do the Eucharist after this, and to me the whole of it is "the story of our lives!"

3. The collect for the first Sunday in Lent. Satan didn't do squat to me. I did it to myself.

4. How people who "go meatless" also seem to "go bland" in their food choices. Too many vegetarian dishes are just blah. I make very spicy ones!

5. Hearing folks in the parish go over and over about whether or not we should do foot-washing on Maundy Thursday. Do it or don't do it, I don't care! But let's not rehash the same old stories over and over to support "your" side!

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

excellent reminder that the "interruptions" aren't really interrupting at all... sometimes folks coming to us is the main thing after all. in my own self-centered ways, sometimes i lose sight of that.

coffee? never drank it until i became a pastor... then it was almost, but not quite mandatory!

Sharon said...

Along the lines of what you wrote: I have had a fantasy of serving a church where we declare a "fast" from all meetings during Lent, the thought being that we might substitute something else, like a prayer group or a discipleship journey group. OK, I know ... I'm dreaming!

Tara Ulrich said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! It is always fun to have new readers! I like your answers to todays friday five!

1-4 Grace said...

Great post. I also love purple and one of my favorite stoles is a purple one.
But I love the colors drapped all over