Sunday, February 19, 2006

Rushing the Season

I think it must say something about someone's personality if, instead of looking forward to Christmas, s/he looks forward to Lent.

That's where I'm at right now. It may still be the Season of Light, but I'm thinking about the ways in which I am going to observe Lent this year.

One way is by providing some Internet space for people to share their own Lenten journeys, ask questions, and provide some encouragement for those who perhaps aren't being supported in their Lenten observance by their faith community or family or friends. I've set up what's called a dialogue group on Beliefnet for this purpose. If you are not already a member, you do need to register (fairly painless -- you can uncheck all those annoying please-let-us-junk-up-your-e-mail-every-day-with-our-marketing options, and also keep your profile blank, if you'd rather not invest a lot of self-disclosure in that website other than participating in this group) to participate in the dialogue groups. Once you've done that, go to the left-hand sidebar, find "Community," find "Dialogue Groups," find "Christianity" -- and you'll see my group; I use a different nom de plume/nom de guerre over there, but you'll figure it out.

Many people pick a spiritual book other than the Bible to read during the Lenten season. I think this year I am going to read Unfettered Hope: A Call To Faithful Living in an Affluent Society by Marva Dawn, a theologian whose work I've appreciated before. I am more acquainted with her books about the theology of worship; in this book, Dawn tackles the issue of living not only more faithfully but also more hopefully in a society where the various "powers and principalities" tend to create an atmosphere of chaos and despair. I think this book will fit in well with the countercultural thrust of Lent -- a time where, while the rest of the world does its own thing, we keep our eyes focused on Jesus as he in turn "sets his face toward Jerusalem," and like Mary Magdalene in Godspell we ask, "Can you take me with you?"

I'm slowly working out some of my other Lenten disciplines. I want to engage in some quality examen time beforehand to identify some of the issues in my own life that keep me lurching into the ditch on my walk with The CEO, and integrate confronting those into my disciplines. And a lot of it I think is going to stay between The CEO and me.

And, of course, I'm giving up a tooth for Lent.

(That was a joke. Sort of.)


Andy Kaylor said...

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one leaning toward Lent. I went to church today and saw that the newly installed carpet is purple. I smiled and told my wife, "They changed liturgical colors early."

Shupac said...

Lent is also my favorite liturgical season. I don't know if it's for reasons of temperment or my particular spiritual bent, but it's by far the most intense and connected time of the year for me spiritually. I'm looking forward going to Benedictine monastery for part of the week after Ash Wedneday, which should get the season off to a good start.

Ruth said...

Yay purple!

Tom in Ontario said...

One thing I don't like about the liturgy during Lent is witholding absolution until Maundy Thursday. I think it's a dumb rubric and I refuse to follow it.

LutheranChik said...

Tom, I'm with reminds me of interdictions back in the Middle Ages; and it's really crappy theology.

On another forum we were also talking about "burying the Alleluia," and how in some parishes that's become a rather over-the-top affair that doesn't effectively communicate what Lent is all about. (And it's not about, "Now we have to be sad for the next 40 days.")

All of which makes me think of another question: How well do we educate the laity on what these seasonal liturgical changes mean? I think not very well at all. This is one of my pet dead horses to you've got me started, Tom!:-)