Friday, March 13, 2009
Friday Five: Mid-Lent Check-In
Sophia at Rev Gals has come up with a tough Friday Five. It is tough because I am afraid I have not been very good about my Lenten observance this year. It is time to get back at it. At least I didn’t have dessert with lunch today!
The pastor of my grad school parish once gave a fascinating reflection, at about this mid-point in the season, called "How to Survive the Mid-Lent Crisis"! As I recall, his main point was that by halfway through the season we have often found it very challenging to live up to our original plans....But, he suggested--on the analogy of the healing and reframing of our life plans that can happen during a mid-*life* crisis--that that can be even more fruitful.
So here's an invitation to check in on the state of your spirit midway through "this joyful season where we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed" (Roman Missal). Hopefully there's a good deal of grace, and not too much crisis, in your mid-Lenten experience!
1. Did you give up, or take on, anything special for Lent this year?
I try to give up sweets most Lents because they are so difficult for me to avoid. At least during Lent I have an excuse when someone offers me some tidbit that adds to my girth. I also try to take on some kind of study. This year I have not only taken on the book of Revelation, but I have been preparing to teach the Gospels as a part of a Deacons’ training program.
2. Have you been able to stay with your original plans, or has life gotten in the way?
Sophia has reminded me to get back on track with my sweet abstinence—limiting sweets to Sundays only. The study part has been absolutely exhilarating.
3. Has God had any surprising blessings for you during this Lent?
I have begun to be much more creative in understanding the difference between “once-born Christians” and “twice-born Christians”. I am working on an article for my blog on the vantage point of these two groups.
4. What is on your inner and/or outer agenda for the remainder of Lent and Holy Week?
I need to find a bit more time to be quiet. But on the whole, things seem to be going quite well. I still have some planning to do for Holy Week but the broad outlines are in place.
5. Where do you most long to see resurrection, in your life and/or in the world, this Easter?
There are a few places: I would like to see some resurrection in house cleaning. I long to see some resurrection within the Anglican Communion, especially around the issues of human sexuality. The pronouncements of the Archbishop of Nigeria are positively obscene.
Bonus: Share a favorite scripture, prayer, poem, artwork, or musical selection that speaks Lenten spring to your heart.
“Be not afraid.” This scriptural admonition is found always when God is doing something awesome in Scripture. At the moment, my life is going along quite nicely. God is speaking in the rather exciting Bible study and Church History studying I am doing. But I am a bit too comfortable. I am waiting for the other shoe to drop, sort of. At the same time I am giving thanks for the calmness of my life. Part of me is in denial about the losses in my retirement account. But I refuse to worry about such things. Things are just things—and money is just a thing. Part of me tells me that I am being foolish, but the other part of me wants to truly trust in God.