A Message from Pastor Gordon: Do something different for Lent
So here’s how I got to that conclusion. I am an avowed convert to the liturgical year. I’m a convert in the sense that I grew up in a church with a basic sense of the church seasons, but then in seminary and as a pastor I’ve come to deeply appreciate the purpose and meaning of the church living according to this calendar.
And what I think is most important about the liturgical calendar is simply that it is different than the other calendars of our lives: monthly, fiscal, school, sports and groups, seasons, daily schedule, family schedule, work schedule. It’s not that I mean to be contrarian – there’s nothing inherently wrong with those calendars – but the liturgical year is a way to remind us that those markings of time and schedules are not the only thing, or the true thing, with which to define and pattern our lives.
As the liturgical calendar begins at Advent and brings us through the stories of God and the life of Jesus, it makes an ongoing claim on us that God’s presence in the world and God’s love and grace in Christ is the lens through which we see ourselves and others and our world. That claim is at times in sync with our other calendars and at times a stark contrast to them, so the liturgical calendar is an ongoing way to remember who and whose we are in the midst of all the other times and patterns of our lives.
And so as a fervent liturgical year adherent, I of course need to point out that in March, Lent is upon us (a late Lent this year, but those variations are part of what’s interesting about the liturgical year). And as the coming weeks will take us through the cultural seasons of…Spring (I do believe it will come!), St. Patrick’s Day, “March Madness”, Spring Break, April Fools’ Day, and tax day!…the season of Lent to Holy Week that brings us to Easter offers us a different way to mark our lives in the midst of it all. And that simply means it can be important and meaningful to do something yourself, with your spouse/partner, with your family, to mark this season of Lent as part of your calendar.
Here are some ways to do that:
- Attend Early Worship, Adult Ed and 11:00 a.m. worship (some people do come to all 3!).
- Attend Ash Wednesday worship on March 5.
- Participate in the small group offered by Compassionate Connections starting on March 6.
- Attend the Wednesday evening series on March 12, with mandalas to make for all!
- Use the Lenten devotionals provided, with materials for individuals, families, children.
- Give up something for Lent (often a favorite food, or TV show, or alcohol) as spiritual discipline (but Sundays can be ‘feast days’!).
- For a different tack on “giving up”, work on letting go of something such as resentment, or envy, or self-doubt (no feast days for those! ☺).
- Instead of giving up, give to a cause that makes others’ lives better.
- Take time to pray.
- Take time to be quiet.
- Read a poem (one provided below for your convenience).
So, in conclusion: do something different for Lent.
Imperatives – Part 2 of Mysteries of the Incarnation
by Kathleen Norris
Look at the birds
Consider the lilies
Drink ye all of it
Enter by the narrow gate
Do not be anxious
do not give dogs what is holy
Go: be it done for you
Do not be afraid
Young man, I say, arise
Stretch out your hand
Stand up, be still
Rise, let us be going…