Here are today’s contributions from those participating in the Lenten synchroblog
From Tom Grosh: Do Lenten practices or conversations regarding them give you the feeling that Big Brother is Watching, Read more
From Beth Stedman: Lent begins with Listening to where God is leading. Read more
From Banu Moore: Akouete… Keep on Listening to Jesus. Read more
From Aj Schwanz: Lent 2009
From Jeff Greer:Ash Wednesday Reflections. Read more
From Ecoquaker: Lent is not about chocolate. Read more
Thomas Turner: Rethinking Lent. Read more
Bob Fisher: Ash Wednesday tweets: Read more
You can check out all the participants in the synchroblog here
Finally reflections from Thule Kinnison who with a guest post about Ash Wednesday and also the day before Lent – often called pancake or fat Tuesday because this was traditionally the day on which people finished off any dairy products or other perishable food items that they would not eat during Lent.
o here’s our experience thus far. Last night, Fat Tuesday, we met at The Gladdings house for pancakes; yummy way to end my indulgence for some time. It was wonderful. Maggie, Seth and Amber all made masks and Rebecca, Erin and I made pancakes, enjoyed the spicy flowers that Maggie and Seth graciously fed us (yummy as well!) from the garden and we all enjoyed the wonderful smell of the blooming jasmine which is very soothing to the senses. Afterwards we read books to Maggie and Seth, one that was about little mice and Fat Tuesday.
Today, Ash Wednesday started off wonderful. I began studying and meditating on scripture from the daily lectionary. It seems like a lot of reading and I’m praying that what I study and read, I do deeply so I’ll have to get use to reading more and I’ll begin to wake up an hour earlier to dedicate time with God alone.
Me, Mandi, Erin, Jennifer, Amber and Tomato met up at Jennifer’s house and made and ate spring rolls and off to church we went. We all attend a church named Ecclesia. The service started at 7pm and ended at 8pm. It was deep, and my first realization about myself on this journey is that I DO already live each day, dying with and for Jesus. I am one that is aware that everything I do is for Him and I don’t live this way just during Lent. I was happy to realize that and know that my journey with God is deepening and I’m growing in His love by living this way. I struggle, boy do I struggle but I live in freedom like never before~ I’m hopeful to be broken and rebuilt during this season and am willing to connect with my brokenness and that of the world to reveal my truth that God has for me.
More WILL be revealed… I believe. And I have to say that music will be a huge part of my experience as well. I’m connected there and find freedom and release in it.
For those of you who have not yet decided what you are giving up for Lent here is something from the NY Times that you might like to consider
More recently, the issue of toilet paper has become less of a joke (except when celebrities express an opinion) and more of a cause: since the fluffy kind cannot be made from recycled paper, conservationists argue, consumers can do their part to protect the environment by buying the rougher stuff.
Last night like many of you, Tom and I attended Ash Wednesday service at our church. I returned home my forehead embellishd with a black cross and my heart very aware of my own sinfulness and need for repentance. It seems to me that Lent this year is very much on people’s minds as they continue to grapple with the crisis in our world economy and the underlying corruption that has created it. It makes us aware not only of our personal need for repentance but of our societal need for repentance too.
This morning however I am working on the Easter portion of A Journey into Wholeness which I should have ready to download at the beginning of next week. As a result I have been reflecting on”what is Lent preparing for?” It seems to me that for many of us Lent has become an end in itself and there is very little sense of what we celebrate it for. First I want to emphasize that Lent is not about preparation for the celebration of Stations of the Cross much as I enjoy participating in that experience. Nor is it even primarily a preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, even though this is the pivotal celebration of our faith.
Lent is primarily about preparing us to live in the world that Christ’s resurrection brought into being – the kingdom of God world – what I like to call God’s resurrection created world. it is about preparing us to follow the one who “transfigured the world with the Spirit of life.”
The Christ that early disciples experienced was the incarnate, risen Christ who made life flourish in the midst of a violent and oppressive empire by feeding the hungry, healing the sick and bringing the hope of freedom and new life for all creation. The God they experienced was a God whose very essence was love and who calls us to live in a world in which love of God and love of neighbour is both the meaning for all we do and the purpose of all we are and do. The disciplines that we establish during this season are for that purpose. They are intended to break down the barriers that inhibit us from dwelling fully in this world. It is intended as a time to put to death those parts of our lives that are not centered on God and God’s pruposes.
Imagine how our world could be transformed this Easter season if we took this preparation of Lent seriously for all of life and became the people that God intended us to be – resurrection life people who are committed to seeing the life of God’s kingdom flourish in every aspect of our world.
Things that clutter and consume
We lay them down
Attitudes that separate and divide
We lay them down
Thoughts that confuse and disrupt
We lay them down
Into the cycle of living and dying and rising again
We lay them down
Here is a list of all those that have told me they intend to participate in the synchroblog. If you do not see your name on the list but would like to be a part of this please let me know. There is still time to be involved and as you can see this is quite a long and impressive list.
Today is Ash Wednesday and this evening, like many others I will be heading to church to be inscribed with a cross of ashes which I will try not to wash off for a day or too as a symbol that I carry Christ’s cross out into the world. It seems to me that the hard economic times in which we live have made people more aware of this season of Lent and of our need for repentance. Here are some reflection that you might find helpful for this day.
Some of the participants in our Lenten synchroblog have already started blogging as an introduction to Lent. I will publish the full list of participants this afternoon (about 45 people) but you can check out their reflections here:
There are a number of other good posts out there that I would recommend too. Especially check out Marcus Goodyear He posts a poem from TS Eliot that is a wonderful reflection for this season. I also recommend Mark Powell
And if you have not seen it yet, I have another meditation video for Lent that you might like to check out too
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday the official beginning of Lent. It gets its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of worshippers as a sign of repentance. The ashes used are gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are burned and are imprinted as a sign of the cross by the priest who presides at the service. As he does so, he recites the words: “Remember (O man) that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
The ashes of Lent are the sign of our mortal bodies and the reminder that God has turned death to ashes. They are the memorial of our sin and the proof that Christ has beaten down Satan under his feet. They are the evidence of our dying and the hope of our living in him.” (From The Ashes of Lent by Dorsey McConnell)
I think that this year for many of us who are Australian the imagery of ashes has much deeper significance than usual. At least 209 died in the recent bushfires which were the worst in living history, though the exact number is not known yet because some of the bodies were literally burnt to ashes. This, coupled with the memories of the 1983 bushfires which actually swept through Victoria and South Australia on Ash Wednesday destroying 2500 homes have made us very aware of our own mortality and of the brokenness of our world in which such devastation could be caused deliberately by arsonists.
As you watch this video may it remind you of your own mortality. All of us will one day return to the dust and ashes of death, and as we watch the fires that took so many lives we are reminded of our own need for the fire of the Holy Spirit to burn through our lives and destroy everything that would turn us to ashes too. Remember not just your own brokenness and your need for repentance but all those who are broken and in need of refining fire of God’s spirit in order to find repentance.
Lent officially begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday when I will post a list of those who are participating in the Lenten/Easter journey with us this year. However as people are already beginning to post about Lent I thought that we would get a head start.
Tom Grosh has given us a good start with a post on The Emerging Shcolar’s blog with some more great resources to add to my growing list. I particularly love the way that he has involved his children in the process. Thanks Tom.