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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lent at Saint Mark's


My first introduction to the season of Lent came through a 1st grade reading textbook from my cousin’s parochial school. In this book, the stand-ins for Dick and Jane were faithful Roman Catholic children discussing what they would go without in Lent that year. At that point I was a Presbyterian little girl, and was unfamiliar with both the season of Lent and its practices. I remember, though, pouring over that chapter in the book, and being mysteriously attracted to it. I kept a secret Lenten discipline that year. I gave up candy. I did pretty well, even without public support. By the next year,the idea was somehow less attractive, and it wasn’t until years later, when I became an Episcopalian, that I took Lent up again.

I don’t think it was the idea of deprivation that attracted the 6 year old me, but the idea that I had the power to do something that would help me feel closer to God. It has become for me a season that invites us to be more mindful of the presence and activity of God in our hearts and in our lives and in our world. Our practices are meant to increase that mindfulness, and so we set about in Lent to do whatever will accomplish that. In our family, we unplug the television on Ash Wednesday, and it doesn’t come back on until after Easter. Over the years, all four of us have noticed that this feels less and less like deprivation, and more and more like gift. Our house is quieter in Lent. We seem to move more slowly, more gently. Loving conversation and playful interaction replaces t.v. watching. In Lent we have more room and more time to recognize the love of God in the words and the faces of our family members.

I invite you this Lent to choose a practice which will help you make room for God, and for greater awareness of God’s presence in your life. I also want to invite our whole parish family to a common practice for Lent. What might we do together to deepen our sense of God’s indwelling and to strengthen us for the living of God’s love. Share your ideas with me, and by Ash Wednesday I’ll issue a specific invitation for the season. And then together, as we make our way, we’ll celebrate how we see God living and working among us.

Faithfully yours,
Pastor Carri+


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