as i lie on my bed, i have an ash cross crudely drawn upon my forehead.

lentface

i have never celebrated Lent before.

and i don’t intend to start now.

at least i didn’t.

in fact last nite when our housemate Aaron announced that he was giving up coffee and liquor for Lent [just before having a tot of coffee liquer with us to see in his time of fasting] it was yet again for me a moment of, ‘Oh, it’s that time again.’

i have wanted to try it before but it always comes upon me too quickly and then suddenly with a flourish it’s there and i’m left saying things like, ‘Well, maybe next year.’

THE SERVICE

tonite Aaron invited me to a service and altho i don’t think i would have been typically amped, something inside of me knew that this was something i really wanted to do

i’ve been feeling disconnected from God lately and really wanting to get more disciplined in my prayer and reading and so spending some time in a service focusing on the time leading up to Easter sounded like just the right thing

it ended up not really even being a service, but more a gathering,

ten of us sitting in a circle, mostly older people,

talking about what people were thinking about giving up for lent, reading some liturgy and then,

turning off all the lights and sitting in the glow of some candles as we went around the room,

each person dipping their finger in to a mix of the remains of the palm branches from palm sunday which had been burned down,

and some olive oil to make a paste,

and then making a cross on the person’s forehead next to you, while speaking these words:

“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

THE CHALLENGE OR INVITATION

actually i will have to go with ‘Invitation’ cos one of my friends already told me he was giving up being challenged by my blog for Lent

Matt, whose church we were at for this meeting handed around a piece of paper with 40 suggestions on it:

at the top of the sheet it reads ‘House for All Sinners and Saints’ which i’m fairly sure is Nadia Bolz-Weber’s church

followed by 40 days and 40 suggestions of things to do to observe Lent

things such as:

‘No complaints day’ 

Don’t turn on the car radio

Educate yourself about human trafficking http://www.praxus.org

Look out of the window until you find something of beauty you had not noticed before

and so i have decided that i am going to observe Lent by compiling a list of similiar things

using some of them and coming up with some of my own [and open to suggestions]

and i would like to invite you to join me in this 

if you are going to give it a try, simply leave your name as a comment below and say i am in

40 days – 40 postings of simple challenges

to connect with God and to love people and to view the world differently

and just a heads up that day 1 is pray for your enemies

day 40 is pray for your enemies [you probably have new ones by now] and then decide which of these exercises you will keep for good

ARE YOU IN?

maybe invite a friend to join you or your home group and do this together

maybe even come up with your own list

We finished off the evening with these prayers:

Gracious God,

our sins are too heavy to carry,

too real to hide,

and too deep to undo.

Forgive what our lips tremble to name,

what our hearts can no longer bear,

and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgement.

Set us free from a past we cannot change;

open us to a future in which we can be changed;

and grant us grace to grow in Your likeness and image;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

followed by the Assurance of Forgiveness Prayer:

May Almighty God

who of great mercy has promised to forgive all who truly repent and in true faith turn unto the Lord,

strengthen you in all goodness and bring you at last into the fullness of everlasting life,

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We departed into the season of Lent with these final words:

Go forth on your journey of following Jesus,

strong in the face of afflictions,

speaking truth,

and knowing that you are loved well by God.

Go in peace. Amen.

May this time be more than simply a thing you are giving up… may that all mean something far deeper…
Enjoy. We celebrate together.

[To begin the 40 days of Lent observance with us, click here]

Lenttwitter

Eugene Cho writes [and speaks] a great piece on the Lent season over here.

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