Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Five: Happy Lent!

Sophia at RevGals writes:

Each year you give us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery with mind and heart renewed. You give us a spirit of loving reverence for you, our [Mother]/Father, and of willing service to our neighbor. As we recall the great events that gave us new life in Christ, you bring the image of your Son to perfection within us.... (First Preface for Lent, Roman Missal)

1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday this year? Any memories of memorable celebrations past?
Does watching the Olympics count? Then, YES!

2. How about Ash Wednesday, past and/or present?
This year I was not at a formal service. In the past I have helped officiate. It is probably the most humbling task a pastor can do, next to leading the Communion service.

3. Does your denomination or congregation celebrate "this joyful season"? Any special emphases or practices to share?
Our congregation? NO. Individuals within it? YES but it is not something that is cultivated. This year someone is teaching a class that is timed to culminate at Easter, but it's not titled as a Lenten class.

This year I am reading the Daily Office through the ESV website. There is something very heart-focusing about praying through the Psalms and prayers of the Book of Common Prayer for Lent.

4. Do you have a personal plan of give-ups, take-ons, special ministries, and/or a special focus for your own spiritual growth between now and Easter?
I blogged about this briefly a few days ago.  Basically I am working on being more intentional and thoughtful in my daily actions. I got the idea as I was thinking about all of the diets that I have tried and failed on because they were too far from the mainstream of the way I live. So while abstaining from something or adding a new routine is great, for me it doesn't have any lasting "sticking" power. I am working on intentionality and being fully present. I believe it is a place where God wants to rub off my roughest edges.  (BTW - in case you wondered - 2 days in, it hurts. But it's good.)

5. What is your dream for the image of Christ coming to perfection in you, the church, the world? How can we support you in prayer?
I'm in "launch mode" right now. I'm finishing my last semester of regular classes for my M.Div. (HALLELUJAH!!!!!!) I'm also applying for a summer CPE unit, and looking to do a second one and become a Board-Certified Chaplain in the next year. In spending time with my mentor and spiritual director, it seems that this is where God is bringing me in my career plans. My prayer has always been "use me, spend me -- but only where you want me!"  I would appreciate prayers for clarity and discernment.

Bonus: Song, prayer, picture, etc. that sums up your feelings about this liturgical springtime. 

First a Picture Bonus!  I went and cut some forsythia just before our back-to-back big snows that started on February 5th. The buds have just started opening. It reminds me of the hymn Now the Green Blade Riseth...

Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

In the grave they laid him, love whom men had slain,
Thinking that never he would wake again.
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green,

Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain.
Quick from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Thy touch can call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.
John MacLeod Campbell Crum (1872-1958)

And here's a Poetry Bonus!  This arrived in my email this morning... I found it to be EXACTLY what I needed to read and pray through.

Dear God,
Speak gently in my silence.
When the loud outer noises of my surroundings
and the loud inner noises of my fears
keep pulling me away from you,
help me to trust that you are still there
even when I am unable to hear you.
Give me ears to listen to your small, soft voice saying:
"Come to me, you who are overburdened,
and I will give you rest...
for I am gentle and humble of heart."
Let that loving voice be my guide.
~Henri Nouwen, With Open Hands


Mompriest said...

Will pray for you as you come to the end of formal classes and move into practical work and CPE. Hospital or nursing home ministry is profound and deeply rewarding...

Sally said...

Thank you for the hymn and the poem. Prayers for you discernment process :-)

Mary Beth said...

Gorgeous, all of it. And one of my favorite hymns.

angela said...

Congratulations on being so close to the end of studies--how exciting. Are you planning to go into a chaplaincy or is that part of the CPE?

Beth said...

Forsythias! Ours are several weeks away but yours give me hope for Spring!

Deb said...

Beth, the forsythias are "forced" - I cut them, brought them in and put them in water 2 weeks ago and they are just now opening. We have the remnants of 3 feet of snow on the ground. It will be a while until they bloom.

Angela, I would like to be a chaplain -- and I think CPE will help me see if that is where God intends I should be.

Jan said...

So nice. What an end and beginning for you in your life and ministry.