I got a welcome email from our pastor, Rev. Sari, with some dates for me to do some guest preaching at St. John’s in Bethesda/Chevy Chase! Here are the dates and service times of my up-coming opportunities…
It’s exciting that two of the dates are in the Lenten Season, a deep and reflective time of every year. My thinking right now is to engage the Gospel passages on each of these Sundays as listed in the lectionary. (Links to the passages for each Sunday are inserted above with their dates.)
St. John’s is always a safe place for everyone. The inclusive and welcoming spirit there is one of the reasons we were able to make the congregation our home. You’re always welcome to visit for services, and of course, it would be pure joy to see you drop in when I’m given the privilege to share a message. Questions? Drop me a note with the form supplied below.
It’s Ash Wednesday again, and if you don’t have plans tonight I’d like to invite you to join my family at St. John’s Episcopal Church for the imposition of ashes and celebration of the Holy Eucharist. (I’m working all day and can’t make an earlier service.) We’ve come to another Lenten Season, a time of reflection, repentance, sometimes rededication. But, why ashes?
I think it’s fair to say that most of us don’t think about our death each day. And really it’s probably healthy for us not to be too focused on our impending deaths. Once in a while though, it’s good and it’s healthy to remember that our journey here on earth needs to be made with intention, and it needs to be made in view of the end and the destination of our journey.
4 Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high.5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Ash Wednesday is next week, February 18th! If you know me, then you’ve probably heard me mention growing up without a Lenten tradition. I was raised in an interesting little brand of Protestant Christianity which emphasized that days like Christmas Day and Easter were not to be religious holidays for us. We could celebrate them, but not religiously. We didn’t wear “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” buttons and we were told that “Every Sunday is Easter!” So yeah, Lent didn’t exactly fit the model we used for faith.
I discovered that Lent holds hidden treasures and depths of spirituality that I desperately need. Growing older and going deeper in studying Orthodox Theology and exploring my own affinities for high church experience with beloved Episcopal and Roman Catholic friends and guides, I have come to appreciate the practice and I insist on the cleansing cycle of Lent for my life. It is always a good time, time well spent and effort rewarded by drawing closer to God in tangible ways.
Here are some of the things I’ve found across the web that can help us get into a Lenten journey this year. These are recommendations on things from photo-a-day projects to creating your own sacred space for prayer and meditation…
I would also like to share a few things I have worked on over the years for Lent… the first is a Lent With the Psalms 2015. I made this last year for 2014 and have updated it for the days of Lent in 2015. Also, two years ago I made a daily life retreat that I have updated and readied for this year: 2015 Lenten Daily Retreat. Finally, new for this year… I will be tweeting/blogging/Facebooking daily during Lent on the Theme of Compassion! Hope you’ll jump in and participate!
Here are some other related posts on prayer from my blog…
Have a blessed Lenten Season!