There are plenty of great ideas created by others for delving deeper into the meaning of Lent and making a space at home and church for reflecting on this penitential season. Here are some of my favorites!
Lent in a Bag by Shawn Schreiner and Vicki Garvey involves distributing small bags (cloth, paper, or ziplock bags) with symbols of the season to assist individuals and families in practicing Lent at home. In addition to the items, you can include instructions, and reflections (on purple paper of course) to go with each item.
Lenten Giving Calendar for 2015 from Jenifer Gamber offers a colorful poster to download and print (free!). Jenifer shares, this Lenten Giving Calendar is an opportunity to practice the act of giving. Each day the calendar invites you to acknowledge and give thanks for God’s abundance in your life and return that abundance in gratitude as a gift of pennies, nickels, and quarters to others. This Lent, let’s clean house, replacing habits that keep us from new life in Christ to a practice of gratitude and giving. Continue reading More Links for Lent→
Tim Schenk (Clergy Family Confidential) has hit the nail on the head – or should I say “water in the font”! How many baptisms (or weddings, confirmations, etc.), have you attended in which the “parties” making a commitment are really just waiting for what they think is the real party yet to come (after the liturgy)?
Read Tim’s additional “promises” as well as some of the great responses he has received thus far on his website.
Lent begins in just a few short days. Are you one that gives up something for the 40 days or do you begin a new practice for this penitential season? Perhaps both? Perhaps none of the above?
Anglicans Online offers this great reflection for their weekly post as the season of Mardi Gras ends and the distribution of ashes occur in churches (plus sidewalks and train platforms) around the world.
Hello darkness, my old friendI’ve come to talk with you againBecause a vision softly creepingLeft its seeds while I was sleepingAnd the vision that was planted in my brainStill remainsWithin the sound of silence
“Sounds of Silence” – Simon & Garfunkel
I love August nights. The sounds of peepers when the temps are right – tree frogs, crickets and all the night creatures serenading me to sleep. I’ve been fortunate in that all the homes (excluding first apartment) have been set on a +/-acre of land that was at least partially wooded. Where we live now we’re surrounded by woods; it’s common to hear owls and coyotes calling in the darkness.
Quiet, comfortable silence that some might find too noisy. And as of last week, I’ve come to recognize the others noises that are not so pleasant. My ears have been sensitized to the quiet, to the stillness, to the sound of the air and the breath of creation.
We arrived in Africa during a full moon, so we could still see our way along the pathways to our ‘tent’ and could catch the outlines of the multitude of elephants that strolled back and forth from the river in the early evening and early dawn. Sleep was often awakened to the sound of hrrmpphing . . . hippos rising out of the cool water of the river to feed on the grasses on the shore and inland, whether they were green or dry. The trumpeting of elephants communicating and defending their young sounded within reach, although were probably hundreds of meters away. The cry of a leopard in the distance.
The nights became darker. As the moon waned, the sky opened up. Coming back late evening from a game drive in the land rover gave our guide pause to stop the engine, turn off the headlights and be still. Looking up, the cosmos bloomed in a massive array of constellations and planets. The Southern Cross . . . follow the two pointers. The Milky Way. A shooting star. Another. And another.
Each morning awakened before the dawn cracked open to the sounds of vervet monkeys chattering in the trees and birds urging the sun to rise. A new day, a new adventure. A new experience of life that occurs everyday that was unbeknownst to me before.
In the heart of the Delta we are treated to mokoros. Guided by our boatsmen, they silently glide through the glass waters amidst reeds, grasses, palms and papyrus, with a steady hand and strong arm of the pole. True silence. During the day, even the hippos are hidden away in the tall reeds, crocs sunning themselves on the floating debris only to slide into the shallows as we approach. Watching a multitude of African fish eagles watching us, herons and cranes mirrored in their search for fish, a Pel’s Fishing Owl discovered in the trees. It is quiet.
The nights are again silent. The hippo grunts and elephants walking through mud and water are part of the sounds of calmness. The tree frogs create a rhythm of their own, different varieties, each with their own melody. A lion’s roar, followed by the bark of a hyena in the distance. It is quiet. Encased in a mosquito-netted bed, you can hear the earth breathe.
Flash forward. Gladly back to the comfort of my own bed, easily flowing hot water and awaiting for the August peepers to lull me back to sleep. It is not to be. The silence is no longer present. The hum of the refrigerator, the glow from the clock radio, the water softener going through its cycle in the wee hours of the morning. The cars . . . loudly whispering away on the Merritt Parkway on the other side of the woods. White noise.
Silence is a curious thing. You think you know what it is until you don’t have it anymore.
But I still have the peepers for another month, and the remembrance of the whispered sounds of silence.
Photos taken by John Pearson, Sharon Pearson, Becca Hays and Chris Pearson (July 30 – August 10, 2012).
Partly because I’m not very good at following through with them. Yes, I always say I will lose weight, exercise more or keep up with the laundry and cleaning better. Today I’ve noticed an extra number of joggers on the roads and many folks posting what their resolutions are going to be on Facebook. And I’ve learned there is a App to make sure you stay on track with your resolution.
I’m wondering if I should resolve to post more regularly here. That’s a tough one; I already blog daily at Building Faith and weekly at The Prayer Book Guide to Christian Education. With editing manuscripts and writing educational program materials, that’s a lot of writing. So, I’ll probably pass on this as a resolution.
However, this afternoon I cleaned up my office. AKA moving around file folders, straightening up books-to-be-read stacks, and filing receipts and clips I’ve torn out of magazines for some future reference. I rediscovered a number of books that I’ve picked up on my travels. I’m a sucker for book stores at conferences. I’ve started a few, but got sidetracked with other reading material. And my Kindle often takes precedence if I’m traveling (or looking for mindless entertainment).
In looking back at 2011, I’ve read plenty of books. Lots are work-related (I wrote the study guide for several*, so I really did read these) and definitely have a theme to them.
Love Wins: A Book About Heaven and Hell by Rob Bell
Christian Formation 2020 by John Roberto
Formational Children’s Ministry by Ivy Beckwith
Child by Child: Supporting Children with Learning Differences and Their Families by Susan Richardson (as editor)
Conversations with Scripture: Daniel by Edmund Desueza and Judith Jones*
Conversations with Scripture: Judges by Roy Heller*
Tweet if you ♥Jesus: Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation by Elizabeth Drescher
What Episcopalians Believe: An Introduction by Samuel Wells*