My Lenten Practice
My Lenten Practice
February 18, 2015 — Susan
I don’t know that I ever heard of Lent in my childhood. It just wasn’t present in the Mennonite church of my youth. Palm Sunday just jumped up and surprised us; then we had services every night of Holy Week, and on Easter it was all over. Yes, my memory is that our poor pastor had to come up with seven sermons in seven days, not just this year but the next year, and the year after that.
Well, things have changed. At our last Sojourn leadership group meeting, Pam challenged us to think about what we are giving up for Lent, which will begin today, Ash Wednesday, Feb 18. A good discussion ensued. Then a friend challenged me to think about how I might make space for Lent; many of those ideas related to changing the physical space around me. Another friend shared a calendar of Lenten Practices for Families. These practices included elements of fasting, prayer, and service. In Sojourn’s Lenten worship, each person was given a strip of cloth and invited to pray with the cloth, tying knots into the cloth to represent the knots or kinks of life that can disrupt our lives and throw us for a loop. Four times I have been encouraged to think about my Lenten practice this year.
My intention. I have my cloth. Its knot is about making space, but not so much physical space, as the psychic space of blessing. This Lent, it is my intention to notice and remember the life giving, the joyful, the hopeful, the positive in my life. It is too easy for me to point to the evil, the pain, the shortcomings of the world, both near and far. When I notice and remember the positive, I will bless it. I want to offer specific, conscious blessings even to the negative, the painful, the frightening. I think that, by doing so, I will see more beauty and goodness and hope, and I’ll be more aware of God’s presence in the ordinary and the extraordinary. And, after all, the grass withers and the flower fades. It is God’s love and presence that do not fade. They are everlasting.
And so, I offer the resources that spurred my thinking so far about my Lenten Practice. May God guide all our practices.