Posts Tagged ‘Lent’

Slice of Life Day 5.  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Slice of Life Day 5. Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. I am an Episcopalian. We do Lent. I will go to church later and have ashes put on my forehead and hear the familiar words, “You are from dust and to dust you will return.” If you think about it too much, it’s kind of scary. But I like the humility of it.

I have been reading a number of blog posts by teachers and by students. Yesterday, I read a student’s post about being yourself. Even as a grown-up this is hard to remember. I want to compare myself to all those other blogging teachers out there. I want to look at myself and wonder what I could be if I just made a decision and stuck with it.

Sometimes, though, it comes down to just being the best of the you you were made to be. I think that is the purpose of Lent. Lent’s not so much about the brow beating, guilt wrenching suffering of giving up. It’s more about sitting with God and adsorbing all the love he has to give and then living your own life. Not the life that you think you should be living, but the one you have. To the fullest.

Before I get too preachy, let me set my goals for my Lent. I did New Year’s resolutions that lasted a few weeks. I signed on for Nerdlution at the end of January and pledged to exercise, write, and be Open (my one little word for 2014). Now Lent. I’ve decided to give up sweets and not for the usual reasons. I want to loose a few pounds and I don’t want to diet, so practically speaking, giving up sweets may be all I need to do. (And exercise more, #nerdlution continues…)

Photo by Jennifer, Creative Commons, Flickr

Photo by Jennifer, Creative Commons, Flickr

The real practice for Lent will be my “take on.” I want to take on random acts of kindness. I have been inspired by Michelle Haseltine at One Grateful Teacher. Michelle set this goal for her Nerdlution. I have enjoyed reading about all her kind acts and amazed at how really easy it can be.

Now I am committed. I’ve made the pledge publicly. And I threw away a not quite empty bag of mint chocolate M&M’s! Tragic.

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Slice of Life Challenge Day 23

Slice of Life Challenge Day 23

For Lent, I signed up to receive a daily email meditation from Episcopal Relief and Development. The other day, the meditation was written by Sister Catherine Grace. She quoted from a prayer from the spring equinox service, “Let us be honey to each other.” That line jumped out at me and I wrote a poem. At school on Friday, a student showed up with this bottle of honey for the ice cream sundae party. This is the kind of honey we should be, home-grown and bottled in a hug-able teddy bear.

honey bear

The Farmer’s Namaste

Let us be honey for each other,
Sweet on the tongue
tasting natural and real
lasting a long time.

Let us be a cup of tea for each other,
spreading comfort and warmth,
close to the heart
shared with conversation.

Let us be bread for each other
kneaded and risen,
nourishing the body and soul,
broken yet making whole.

Let us be namaste to each other,
see the One in you
as you see in me.
Look straight into my eyes;
find only love.
–Margaret Simon

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Ashes to Ashes

Ash Wednesday
Today is Ash Wednesday. I went to church and got an ashy-cross-smudge on my forehead and was told, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

This could be a creepy thing to think about, death, dust, sin. Oh, my! But today I read a few things, heard a few things, and thought about a few things that made me realize this is not creepy at all. It is ritual, a tradition in the Anglo-Catholic religion. I thought the purpose was to remind us that we are mortal and sinful and only God can save us from that. But today I got a different message.

The message was Grace. When I went to the altar to receive the ashes, I prayed that I would know what God wanted me to do. The voice that came to me said, “You are enough.”

Now God doesn’t make a habit of speaking to me, so when he does, I listen. I was reminded of my one little word, the word I chose to guide my year, rather than making a resolution that I could easily break. My one little word was Acceptance. Now I hear You are Enough!

Bishop Jake wrote on his blog post today, “‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth’ (Matthew 6:19) In other words, don’t approach the spiritual practices of Lent as a set of achievements that will win God’s approval. Instead, approach them as ways to make yourself available to God’s grace.”

So here I am, proclaiming to whomever wants to hear it, “I am an instrument of God’s grace. And that is enough!”

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