This is a perfect Friday Five from RevGalBlogPals since I was planning to blog about my Lenten discipline anyway.
1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras and/or Ash Wednesday this week? How?
Yes, I led my first Ash Wednesday service at a friend's church. I loved it. Once again affirming my call to worship leadership. I preached about being a wretch - starting with a story of manBoy asking me one night as I was singing Amazing Grace, "Mommy, what's a wretch?" I used a good deal of John Newton's life story. He wrote Amazing Grace. It turns out John did have an amazing conversion experience, but continued to captain slave ships afterward. It was only later that his eyes were opened to the evils of slavery. His remorse over his participation in slave trade strongly influenced William Wilberforce who fought long and hard in the English parliament to abolish slavery. (See the movie Amazing Grace.) "I was blind, but now I see" is as much about seeing our own wretchedness as seeing God's redeeming love.
2. What was your most memorable Mardi Gras/Ash Wednesday/Lent?
Last year, I went to Ash Wednesday service at my home church. I had no leadership role, and neither did G&T. We actually sat together as a family. We were in a bad place. G&T had been out of work for 2 and a half months. As I sat and listened to my friend play "The Lord's Prayer" on her violin, I was overcome with the words "Thy will be done." It was a huge letting go. Tears rolled. Peace came. As a post-script, G&T had an interview the next day and a job by the end of the week. But, the peace came first.
3. Did you/your church/your family celebrate Lent as a child? If not, when and how did you discover it?
As an adult. It has become more common to take up Lenten Disciplines in the United Methodist Church in the lat 15-20 years. I began by giving up things I turn to when I'm stressed instead of turning to God (Coke and M&M's the first year).
4. Are you more in the give-up camp, or the take-on camp, or somewhere in between?
It depends on where I am that year, so I guess you can say somewhere in between.
5. How do you plan to keep Lent this year?
I've been struggling with this. I am hoping that my life will take a significant change in the middle of Lent, so I'm looking for something that isn't dependent on my current schedule and habits. Here's the plan. I need more heart time with God. We talk about the passion of Christ, and I need to remember to be passionate about Christ. I live in my head most of the time, and have worked on integrating heart and head for over a year now. I can see that in the last few weeks, I have slipped into head living again. So my Lenten discipline will be to make heart time, and to attend to my heart throughout the day. I don't know what that heart time will look like, because to have heart time, I have to just be with God. I may read Scripture. I may just listen to my meditative music. Mostly, I want to just be in the presence of God.