When it is Lent

I can only recall one time that I’ve celebrated Ash Wednesday by attending a liturgical church service – you know, the kind where ashes are put on your forehead. But I’ve probably been more than once, when I was younger. This year my small group meets on Wednesday nights, and tonight is no different, so instead of seeking out a liturgical church service to attend, I’m headed to a loft with a group of awesome women. I don’t know whether or not we’ll talk about Ash Wednesday, but I do know that I’m in for a solid and beloved time of community.

I don’t have many thoughts about Ash Wednesday or the Lenten season yet. I’ve never been particularly liturgical (not that you need to be in order to have thoughts about this), nor have I ever really participated in Lent before. But this year I have decided to participate in the Lenten season to some degree: I will be reading from The Book of Common Prayer (or, as I mistakenly called it the other day, “The Common Book of Prayer”) each day during these next 40 days. I’m not sure how to maneuver this aged book, so if you know, please enlighten me! Today I used the Table of Contents, found a few pages designated for Ash Wednesday under “Proper Liturgies for Special Days,” and went for it. I felt humbled as I read and then rejuvenated as the liturgy lifted me back up at the end to a celebration of what Jesus has done for us sinners. I plan to continue to participate in the current SheReadsTruth devo plan as well, but I’ve wanted to do something a little special during Lent alongside it. So expect to hear about my journey now and again as I come to some conclusions about it.

Where you come in: I’d love to hear about your experiences with Lent and how you’re choosing to celebrate the Lenten season this year, if you are.

Finally, there are many wonderful ideas rolling around the blogosphere as to how to celebrate Lent, so I’m including below two links to the most thorough idea posts I’ve yet to come across:

Forty Ideas for Lent (2013) from Rachel Held Evans
Ash Wednesday (2013) from Near Emmaus 


February 13 Joy Dare: 3 Gifts Behind a Door
Quite honestly, guys, I have no idea what gifts to name that are “behind a door.” (What’s behind my door currently are a hook to hang my keys on and an in-case-of-emergency escape route for my building.) I then tried to think about “behind a door” in a metaphorical sense, but my head hurt. So today I’m just going to name some general “today gifts.” 🙂
1. A much-needed nap!
2. A wonderful small group that I love oh so much
3. Clean dishes and a clean desk (Really. My sink and my desk get cluttered most quickly of all, so this is a lovely gift.)


2 thoughts on “When it is Lent

  1. One of my favorite stories about giving up something for Lent is here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5238122, where a priest is given his Lenten sacrifice by his former Jewish roommate. It’s pretty fascinating. This year he has to give up ginger (ale included), lollipops and donuts. I’m sure he’ll find something else on his own, too :).

    My stepfather left sixty five years in the Presbyterian church to join the Episcopal church, and has recently started reading from the Common Book of Prayer at Thanksgiving, Christmas, dinner on Thursday, etc. I asked him once what the appeal was, because for me it didn’t seem that meaningful or special when he was quoting someone else’s words. He referred me to an incredibly lengthy article that was a lot of blah blah blah history and arguments between theological branches, etc., but the ending of it resonated with me and my feelings of indifference so I copied and saved it:

    “Yet they both use the language of the Prayer Book to enact prayers that have no hope of answer: at best, we are “vouchsafed” something, but cannot say what it is. The words persist, but the belief they vouchsafe has long gone. A loss, one supposes—and yet, paradoxically, the words are, in the absence of belief, as richly usable as they were three hundred and fifty years ago. All at once, it seems, they are full and empty. They comfort, disappoint, haunt, irritate, disappear, linger.”

    1. Ah, how interesting! Thanks for sharing, Kelly. I’ve felt the simultaneous fullness and emptiness of seemingly ancient, meaningless words before, and I must say that though the fullness and emptiness is indeed simultaneous, the feeling of emptiness tends to be stronger. I’m so thankful for the times when the feeling of fullness outweighs the other though. That gives hope and a little charge to push you forward. We’ll see how it turns out with the Book of Common Prayer and me this season. 🙂 So far, so good!

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