Thursday, March 6, 2014

On Lent

Lent. I really had no idea what it was . The extent of my knowledge was that people tended to give up chocolate or sodas. I had zero interest in knowing why.

Last year as we approached February and were now attending a Lutheran Church, I realized that we were going to "do Lent". At least I was.  I wasn't going to push it with my family since I felt like I was wading in uncharted spiritual territory.  As Ash Wednesday approached, I looked at the calendar and realized that Mike was going to be out of town that night. Oh man.  I felt a bit of dread.  I so wanted to understand Lent and the ashes and be in community with others observing (not doing!) Lent, but the thought of entering the church alone and receiving ashes was intimidating. I really had no idea what to expect.

I stepped out of my comfort zone and went. I knew that our church was "safe" and I didn't need to do anything there that I didn't feel comfortable with. And really all of my memories of that evening are blurred. The memory is that Ash Wednesday is humbling and that I wept a lot. I don't remember the words spoken, the songs sung, or the prayers that were prayed. I remember the fact that all of it opened up some deep sensate part of me and the tears just would. not. stop. And I was perfectly fine with that. I felt near to Jesus and His Spirit was tender.

As we progressed through the Lenten season, I ached for Wednesday evenings. I didn't even know what I was aching was some deep spiritual ache that I couldn't name. A desire to feel my smallness and obscurity and yet to realize the intimate way He loves and sees me.  A desire to be vulnerable with all my sin and brokenness and know that He forgives and accepts me. A desire to know the reality of the Cross that was coming and the ugliness of it all. On Maundy Thursday  my feet were washed at church. More humility, tears and a tangible act of the tenderness of Jesus. Good Friday I was sobered and silenced by the darkness and its reality. I was feeling ready and hopeful and in need of Resurrection!

I awakened on Easter morning filled with joy. LIFE! I have been given life! His life for mine! Death and sin conquered! Brokenness healed! For the first time at Easter, I received a deep and amazing sense of His completed work on our behalf. Before this season, Easter was really a date on the calender for me to think about getting a new outfit, throwing together some goodies in a basket for my kids and thinking through a good dinner menu. I had really missed out.

So this all brings me to this year. I was really inspired to bring my family along on the journey now. I made a Lent table on Monday filled with symbolism and a few ideas from this post.  Candles and rocks and purple ribbon and a crown of thorns and the basket of flour to represent dust...eggs to draw on with Sharpie pens as a way to pray. I made purple paper chains to represent  the days of Lent along with a green link for Palm Sunday, red for Passover, blue for Maundy Thursday, black for Good Friday and Saturday and white for Resurrection Sunday.

For my personal devotional time, I am using this Lent Journal and reading the book Simplifying the Soul. I am also planning on reading Hands Free Mama and Praying In Color. Following a few Lenten playlists on Spotify is another way to add in theology and beauty and worship and is a daily centering place for me.

A few links:

This is a great post to read about Lent and "giving up" things and giving in to Jesus and it's just so good.

Another fun place to visit is Christine's art journaling journey through Lent.

If you are interested in a Lent filled with acts of generosity, join in on the joy at this website!

A nice list of resources are compiled here for an easy reference.

Elizabeth's book lists for children always help guide me on how to connect these sacred days to my kids.


Candace Crabtree said...

Oh you posted about Lent! I got excited to see this post in my reader. :) and then you linked to me! Thank you so much for that! :) I am not familiar with the book you mention, Simplifying the soul, will have to look for that! I always love your posts and feel like I can so identify with what you're sharing.

Christine said...

What a beautiful story of your journey of discovery with Lent. I spent much of my young adult years in a baptist church which didn't observe Lent, and so the years since I started observing have been very meaningful. <3