Lent is here! Too early!
1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras and/or Ash Wednesday this week? How?
I had and shared pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, of course! I make amazing pancakes. :-) Our Ash Wednesday service was canceled due to excessive snow...so I stayed home the whole day wearing sweats and trying to stay warm, working from home. I read, I watched a movie I'm thinking of using with youth group...and I also took a nap. :-)
2. What was your most memorable Mardi Gras/Ash Wednesday/Lent?
Hmmm...I'm not sure I have any good stories to tell. My friend Calum has a fabulous story of doing the imposition of ashes at a big famous interdenominational seminary in New York City...you know the one. Apparently someone came up to him and, when he reached up to put ashes on her forehead, she stepped back and then leaned in and said "can you not put a cross? how about maybe a circle or a pentagram?" When he tells the story he says that inside his head he was thinking "witch!!! witch!!!" (which is funny with a scottish accent.) He gave her a thumbprint. It's funnier when he tells it...I'm laughing right now remembering, but you're all probably reading this going "umm, intolerance, anyone?" or "why is this a funny story?" Sorry--it's funny in my memory!
3. Did you/your church/your family celebrate Lent as a child? If not, when and how did you discover it?
Definitely no observance of Lent--I grew up secular. :-) Sometimes we would note, in high school, among my friends that the one Catholic girl in our group gave something up for Lent. I didn't start the whole Lent thing until my first Lent at Fourth Church, which was my sophomore year in college. I think that's the year I was freaked out by ashes and asked them to be on my hand instead of my head. That might also be the year I foolishly gave up coffee/caffeine and ice cream. Starbucks became my "personal wilderness." I stopped at starbucks on my way to the sunrise service on the beach on Easter morning (6.30am). And I think I remember going to Ghirardelli for a sundae after lunch after the 11.00 service too. hmmm...I MAY have missed the point....
4. Are you more in the give-up camp, or the take-on camp, or somewhere in between?
It depends on the year. I like the theory and theology of taking something on, but oh... sometimes it's easier to think of something to give up! It's also easier to feel sort of self-righteous about whatever I've given up, though. I can definitely understand the Matthew 6 stuff. So often I try to both give something up and take something on. I guess that puts me somewhere in between...
5. How do you plan to keep Lent this year?
We began lent a little late this year because of the snow--we included prayers of penitence and the imposition of ashes at yesterday evening's Taize service, which was really good. For discipline this year, I have two things (of course).
1) I've given up eating out alone/getting take-out/ordering-in just for me. Sure, there's a $$ thing here but there's also the issue of what-am-I-eating, of controlling food choices better, of not being wasteful, and of eating alone (I don't want to eat alone any more than is necessary...it seems to me that table fellowship is important). So, if I want to eat something that doesn't come from my house (or someone else's house!), I have to share that fellowship with others. Ideally, I'll be buying, but that can be expensive...I just want to make eating out an experience of being with friends rather than of convenience.
2) I am practicing different prayer postures. Generally I am one of those pray-anywhere-anytime types. I pray sitting in my office or on the couch, laying down, driving in the car, etc. So I am trying out a different way, being more intentional. I'm trying out kneeling first, and then I'll try standing with outstretched arms, and maybe some others. I ordered the book Body Prayer to see what else I might try.
And, of course, I'm reading. I got the Bread and Wine devotional book instead of reading Faces at the Cross yet again.