The First Day of Lent

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First Ashes

I spent most of the day bah-humbugging the onset of Lent.  It’s rainy and gray and muddy and I want to ride my new bike.  In preparing for Ash Wednesday, I recalled doing Lent in college and how it was a delight to fast, spend time alone with God and to work out my faith.  It made for a useful sermon analogy.

I spent the morning in the hospital with a woman in bad shape.  I spent the afternoon burning palms.  I smelled bad, but I was ready.  At 6:20PM the first 3 entered the sanctuary, I thought “Oh good, one more than last year.”  And then, in the final 5 minutes before the beginning, people began streaming in.  At this point in my time with the charge, not only do I know everyone in the sanctuary, I know A LOT about everyone in the sanctuary.  I’m preaching to people I love, which makes a BIG difference.  I want them to love God.  I want them to be freed of their sins, ailments and fears.  I want them to know that God loves them beyond measure.  It made my day, to see these people.  How refreshing is that?

After worship, a parishioner came up, ashes still fresh on her forehead and said, “Thank you, this was my first Ash Wednesday.”  I have noticed a liveliness in her spirit that is inspiring.  She is raising two great kids, is loving her new town, and has found a home in this little, friendly church.  It has become important to her and she is important to it.  To think that this ancient ritual is breathing life into this family at an important time in their lives is a great reminder to me: don’t give up on the tradition.

Daily Disciplines Account

The first day of Lenten disciplines went okay.  I was very mindful of driving the speed limit.  There are some hills that are too easy to speed down.  I have new routes to drive now that Anna is in daycare, so I am learning that rerouting might be the best way to maintain this discipline.  I got a good start eating fruits in the morning, but got off track in the afternoon.  I also began 1 Samuel, which I think will be good for me.  I picked 1 & 2 Samuel to read the story of David.  Of course, the book is titled Samuel…the last of the judges.  So to read about two incredible leaders can’t be bad, can it?  In all a good start.  I gained some inspiration, stuck to a few of my disciplines and feel ready for more tomorrow.

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