This Lent I shall be trying to read both:
- Maggi Dawn’s Giving It Up, as suggested by Maggi herself and by Rachel and Graham Hartland; and
- Barefoot Prayers by Stephen Cherry, as used for the #BigRead14.
I can’t promise to blog diligently on both or even either book; rather when I have something that I particularly want to remember I shall write about it – mostly for my own benefit, so I won’t be offended if nobody reads!
Lent is here again. The Liturgy of Ash Wednesday is done – less exhortation, more invitation:
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy word.
And it should be an invitation – though not one for a Christian to turn down lightly. We should want to give up and to take up; to prepare for the glory of Easter. The Easter that seemed so far away mid afternoon when I felt the sort of hunger pang that might normally be addressed by a trip to the “hotline table” at work to see if a little something sweet might be found.
Lent is here again. Maggi points us to Psalm 103 – we are reminded that:
“The days of man are but as grass : for he flourisheth as a flower of the field.
For as soon as the wind goeth over it, it is gone: and the place thereof shall know it no more.”
Maggi explains that ashing is a balance. An over-emphasis on our sinfulness could be oppressive and perhaps lead us to believe redemption is just too hard – so it might not even be worth trying; yet it can be also a way of making us appreciate life.
A twitter pal drew on the same link between the remembrance of our own mortality and the Book of Common Prayer funeral service as the Archdeacon did at tonight’s Cathedral sermon; the same twitter pal also realised the last time someone had marked a cross on his forehead was his baptism – a celebration of the gift of life and the giving of a life to God.
Mulling on these two ideas brings me to the first of Stephen Cherry’s Barefoot Prayers for Lent (there’s been a few more in the build up since Sunday) – Repentance. Poem as prayer is welcome; one of the things I need to repent is not taking enough time to pray; to listen; to hear the voice of God in the storm; to hear not just the rush of time towards the return of my body to dust but the time to learn to see God clearly rather than through a glass darkly.