If you come from a liturgical background you might want to stop reading right here.

I’ve no idea how much of what I’m about to write may be actually sacrilegious if you are passionately liturgical, but I strongly suspect some of it might.

If it is, I sincerely apologise, that is not my intention at all; but as might be obvious I did not come from a liturgical background.

So, I arrived at adulthood with no intuitive understanding of, and precious little knowledge about, the Liturgical calendar or its observances. Lent had to do with fasting, and somehow with Mardi Gras, which seemed a VERY strange combination. That was about the extent of my relationship with it.

Sounded cool, though. And I tried to fast things a couple times, but I’m sort an out-of-sight, out-of-mind, kind of girl, so I can’t say the fasting did much for my focus on God.

This year as Lent approached yet again, I thought … yet again… “Should I do the Lent thing? What should I fast?”.

Since I’m in the middle of redesigning my life, Lent observance seemed especially timely. But still, I felt no specific connection to Lent.

Then I happened to see an article on what Christians get wrong about Lent, which included the statement

“It’s also important to remember in times of fasting, such as Lent, that we’re not just “giving something up,” but we’re “giving something over…””

and though this was not the author’s point, his statement sparked the thought:

Lent is not just about what we GIVE UP, but about what we ADD in its place.


Just as someone might fast food for a day and use the hunger pangs as a reminder to stop and pray for something important, I could do the Lenten fast and use that 40 whole days to remind me to pray first; stress / panic / freak out about how to fix it on my own, second.

I have absolutely no idea if that is the intention of Lent, but, having spent most of my early Christian walk making it up as I went along, little things like precise definitions when it comes to man-made traditions seldom deter me.

Three things DID stand in my way though.

  1. I still had no idea what to give up,
  2. I am still struggling the effects of the Great Life Wreck and while I’m progressing well, I still have deep dips in the faith EKG, so I wasn’t even sure what prayer focus to ADD,
  3. and, I had all these thoughts several days into the Lent season.

Then it occurred to me: I could simply give up the fear, the doubt, the faithlessness, for Lent, and specifically focus on the opposite of it for 40 days!


This did not, alas, provide a time machine back to the start of Lent.

Should I just jump in for the time left?

Do a 40 day fast unrelated to Lent?

Somehow I hated to give up doing my experiment for Lent, now that I had something REAL to devote Lent to.

One of the interesting effects of my day job, which is in a multi-national, multi-denominational, Christian organisation, is that I have to regularly determine not just when ‘regular’ Easter is, but also Orthodox Easter.

They rarely coincide exactly, and one must take that into consideration when planning meetings. It therefore occurred to me that Orthodox Easter was probably preceded by Orthodox LENT.

It was! And Orthodox Lent hadn’t started yet. 

So, that is the long story of how a strictly non-denominational Irish American girl ended up observing Orthodox Lent.


When I went through the recent Great Life Wreck, my faith took a solid hit.

This really shocked me, because faith has always be the strongest thing about me, and I’d weathered a dozen storms FAR worse than the Great Life Wreck without a faith related qualm. To now suddenly be doubting and confused over something relatively trivial… this did not sit well!

Not that I ever doubted who God is, or what he’s capable of – I am blessed that those seem to be unshakable in me.

But my sense that he would lead me, that I’d get the message right, that he even CARED where or how I wandered; those got shaken in ways I never would have dreamed possible.

And while I’ve gotten largely back on track, I still have my days. One day I found myself, for all intents and purposes, wondering if thinking well of God was a sinful attitude! THAT is a point where you know you have officially lost it.

So, for Lent this year I am giving up doubting, and negative views of God.

Odd? Almost certainly, though I do not actually know. But odd suits me.

And since my approach here is that it’s not just what you give up, but what you put in its place, I’m using any moments of uncertainty I run into, to remember his promises about what he thinks of me and wants for me, and focusing on the rational truths of my dreams and goals and desires – not the least being that HE designed them into me.

I’m meditating on various verses that I find encouraging and praying for light, and help, with the most sincere trust that is within my current capacity.

And I am expecting transformation and restoration … which is what Easter is all about anyway.


A love affair with Lent.

Lent 2017.

Despite my rather curious and belated beginning of Lent last year, I have fallen in love!

Orthodox Lent, having come through for me when I really needed it, now holds a special place in my heart. So I struggled this year: stick with Orthodox Lent, or move to the one most suited to my own cultural calendar?

Fortunately, Orthodox and Western Lent overlap so well for 2017 that I can transition with no separation anxiety. 

Last year I gave up up doubting and negative views of God for Lent.

I tried to think of it as a fast, and to fill any little space I emptied of doubt with meditation on encouraging verses of scripture, and prayer for light, for help.  

And you know what? It helped!     A lot.


I’m still not  the poster child for unshakable faith, and I still struggle with whether some good thing is ‘too much to ask’.

But I know a lot more now about how to work with God, and how to keep believing through the struggles, than I did a year ago. And I’m getting better at expecting the best and not the worst in my dealings with God.

Thinking well of God, if you will.

And spending 40 days focusing on something I value …  heck, just spending 40 days FOCUSING … was such a gift.


So, I’m going on with my own little Lent observance! One day maybe I’ll get to where I do it ‘right’, but if not, I’m okay with that: doing it at all has changed me, in very positive ways.

For this next Lent, I’m going to just keep on this path toward fully trusting God: progress good, but much yet to be done.

I also want invite in anyone who could use a chance to step back and focus!

If you, like me, haven’t really ever had the blessing of Lent, take a chance on it!

Quick tip though: Since I’m still almost completely ignorant of ‘proper’ Lenten practice, if you’re the perfectionist type, definitely find a church that practices Lent and seek ‘learned’ input!

But, I found a neat little resource that I’m going to post from throughout the Lenten season, so if you want a simple, casual Lenten intro, come along.

The resource is the Revised Common Lectionary from Vanderbilt University.

“Revised Common Lectionary” – don’t liturgical churches have the BEST words?

And here’s what REALLY got me: I still don’t have a firm grasp of this whole Liturgical Calendar thing, but according to this Lectionary, the Bible readings for  Lent start with Isaiah 58!

I am a complete sucker for Isaiah 58.

(The Lectionary also gives parts of Joel 2, and it’s great, so I don’t want to bias anyone, but … ISAIAH 58!) You could always read both. But if you’re only reading one… you know…. 😀

Isaiah 58 is like a super-condensed version of the entire Christian life. DEFINITLY in love with Isaiah 58.

But I digress.

So, throughout Lent I’ll be posting the verses, and the prayers for that day from the Lectionary, and maybe a question or a thought or something from my own reading or contemplation.

I’ll start that up next Wednesday, though I admit I’ve given away some of that one.

There aren’t verses for every day, but mainly for Sundays (which interestingly enough, appear to be holidays from Lent; curious folks these liturgicals) and the important milestones of Lent.

If you’re interested, come along! And no worries if you’re not. 

Another digression

I don’t understand how all this liturgical calendar stuff works, but I thought it  was super cool that the one for Lent, for THIS TIME, focuses on things like Isaiah 58, and verses from the the New Testament that are so timely for this point at least in my life, and the life of my country that they seem hand picked for this year.

Very cool stuff indeed.


Be well. 

Lent 2017: Ash Wednesday, The Beginning.

Welcome to Lent!!

If you’re coming into this brand new, you might want to check out my first post in this series, so you know better than to view this as any sort of ‘proper’ Lenten observance!

This is simply the invitation of one who has fallen in love with the barest outline of Lent, to anyone else who would like to give it a try in a no-pressure way.

Here there is no right or wrong way to practice Lent. .

This is just 40 set-aside days in which we have the luxury of pausing a little, and focusing on some aspect of our relationships with God, in a way that draws us nearer rather than pressing us down.

For each of the days in the Lectionary I’ll post that day’s verses and prayers.

You can pick one to ponder, or go through all, or just focus on what speaks to you in this Lenten season.

SO: Welcome to Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent 2017.

According to my new-found friend the Revised Common Lectionary, the official scriptures for today are:

First Reading Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12

Why is there an ‘OR’?  I have NO IDEA.

I do know, however, that Isaiah 58 is just about the coolest reference source for Christian living, so if in doubt, I’d go with that one.

But then, it’s not as if you can really go wrong, you know? And I’m pretty sure no one will complain if we decide to read both.

BUT THEN!!! There is ALSO a Psalm of the day as well!!

Today’s is  Psalm 51:1-17.

Now, the link up at Joel and Isaiah is from the lectionary itself, and it has the whole text of all of these, for your easy reference; I’m just adding additional versions to the rest of these to mix it up a bit.

I can also highly recommend Psalm 51. 🙂

Lest you worry that the New Testament has been neglected in this crucial Lenten season, the Second Reading for today is: 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10.

I’m theorising that it’s okay to read the whole of verse 20, so that’s what I’ve linked above.

Why are there a First, and a Second reading (especially when there are are actually 5 passages on offer)?

No idea on that either. But they definitely ought to be enough to get us through a day!

As if that were not enough, in addition to the NT Second Reading, there is a Gospel Reading! These liturgical folks have things covered.

The Gospel Reading, very much in theme with the rest, is Matthew 6 : 1-6 and 16-21


The Lectionary also includes a set of Prayers, and a selection of Art for each day. 

Now, the ART   for this one doesn’t happen to be my thing, but I know that everyone is different, so I’m including the link so you have the option to peruse as you like. I hope it really speaks to some of you.

The  PRAYERS though, I really like. So, with the kind permission of Vanderbilt University’s Revised Common Lectionary** I’ll post those here. 


Righteous God,
in humility and repentance
we bring our failures in caring, helping, and loving,
we bring the pain we have caused other,
we bring the injustice in society of which we are a part,
to the transforming power of your grace.
Grant us the courage to accept the healing you offer
and to turn again toward the sunrise of your reign,
that we may walk with you in the promise of peace
you have willed for all the children of the earth,
and have made known to us in Christ Jesus. Amen.


Gracious and merciful God,
you see into the secret places of our hearts,
where we mourn our sins.
As we turn again to your grace, receive our prayers.

Prayers of the People, concluding with:

Look with mercy on our contrite hearts,
wash from us the stain of iniquity,
and create a new and right spirit in us,
that we may declare your praise
and offer an acceptable sacrifice in these Lenten days;
through Christ Jesus, who bore our sins on the cross. Amen.


O God, you delight not in pomp and show,
but in a humble and contrite heart.
Overturn our love of worldly possessions
and fix our hearts more firmly on you,
that, having nothing,
we may yet possess everything,
a treasure stored up for us in heaven. Amen.

Thanks for coming along!

The next Lent Post will be on Sunday, 5 March.

If you’d like some daily thoughts for your walk through Lent, BibleGateway has some interesting sounding Lent Devotionals. They will send you one email a day throughout Lent. I’ m going to check out the Bonhoeffer one, myself. Seems timely.



Be well. 


** Reprinted from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts

First Sunday in Lent

Happy First Sunday of Lent!!

(If you’re coming into this brand new, you might want to check out my first post in this series, so you know better than to view this as any sort of ‘proper’ Lenten observance.)

So, how did the first ‘week’ of Lent go?

Did you add anything to your life?

Subtract something?

Did someone with far more class than I have find a way to make use of the first week of Lenten Art?

I hope that you are finding, or will find, a moment or two, or even a season of grace in experimenting with Lent!!

My first week was FAR less focused than I’d wished.

But, just remembering  that it is a season for focusing, slowing down, helped me feel at least a little more focused.

Like having a an anchor I could turn back to from time to time.

I really liked having the ‘set apart’ verses for Lent from this Lectionary. And I found the themes for this first week thought provoking. The Joel was the grimmest of the batch, but even it has that hopeful feel of ‘Yeah, it’s a mess and has to be fixed, BUT we’ll work it out.’ (I mean, we could have gotten Amos’ take on the thing instead.)

All the readings sound like the heart of God to me, which was a nice way to start the season.

I like this next week’s crop too! I like the theme that seems to be developing in this.

Here is the WHOLE CABOODLE from the Lectionary site

Or if you’d rather stroll through them a bit more casually: 

Genesis 2:15-17  and 3:1-7
Psalm 32
Romans 5:12-29
Matthew 4:1-11


(A little heavy on The Message, I admit, but where else do you get God saying “Beat it, Satan!” ? )

There is quite a selection in this week’s PRAYERS, and of course I can’t forget my more civilised, or at least visual, brethren, with this week’s Lenten ART.


The next Lent Post will be Sunday, 12 March.



Be well.


Second Sunday in Lent

Welcome to Lent!!

(If you’re coming into this brand new, you might want to check out my first post in this series, so you know better than to view this as any sort of ‘proper’ Lenten observance.)

How was your week?

Did you find any opportunities to slow down and focus on what you have decided to prioritise for Lent?

My week was a little more focused than last.

Partly out of that intentional ‘Lent deserves better!’ mindset; and, yes, partly because I was starting to lose my mind with so many things so UNfocussed.

I really enjoyed the ‘theme’ of this past week’s verses.

That interplay of sin entering the situation and God having it covered. Over and over. It’s a good reminder, I think, for those days when we are tempted to see it as

‘Yeah, God saved us, but now YOU’VE gone and messed it all up!’.

Or perhaps, ‘Yeah, God saved us, but then I went and messed it all up .’

I’m not an advocate of testing God, but most of us do have far too narrow an image of his grace.

I like the verses for this week too.

They feel gentler … more … about the solutions God makes than the problems we make.

If you’re interested in those, here is the whole shebang  all together from the Lectionary.

Or, the individual readings are:


Genesis 12:1-4(a)   But hey, go wild: read verse 4 all the way to the end!

Psalm 121

Romans 4:1-5 and 13-17 

John 3:1-17  OR  Matt 17:1-9    (I have it on good authority that you can also read both of these, if you really want to!)  😉 

And the Lectionary would never leave us without PRAYERS and ART!

To my mind, the second prayer itself is art:

Artist of souls,
you sculpted a people for yourself
out of the rocks of wilderness and fasting.
Help us as we take up your invitation to prayer and simplicity,
that the discipline of these forty days
may sharpen our hunger for the feast of your holy friendship,
and whet our thirst for the living water you offer
through Jesus Christ. Amen.


Isn’t that an evocative perspective?


The next Lent Post will be Sunday, 19 March.



Be well.


Third Sunday in Lent

Welcome to Lent!!

(If you’re coming into this brand new, you might want to check out my first post in this series, so you don’t mistake this for any sort of ‘proper’ Lenten observance.)

The THIRD Sunday in Lent. Half of Lent is gone and I’m only just catching up!!

If one is generous enough to look upon me as catching up even yet. Oy! But, it’s been a pretty good week. I’ve worked a good deal on trusting God this week, and really discussing each of my many options and next steps with him instead of (at least before!) freaking out.

How was your third week of Lent?

Is anyone else using some of the Lectionary verses or prayers? (or even ART ?!)

How’s that going?


This next set is interesting.

I don’t exactly get the connection between the first and the last, and I have to admit that the bit from Exodus has never been in my Top Ten Beloved Bible Passages.

For the longest time I read sections like this and wondered why on Earth God put up with the Israelites, and what possible value we could be getting out of their story –  mostly of whining, snivelling, freaking out, and turning their backs on God. Despite the AMAZING things he had JUST DONE FOR THEM!!

Then I got older, and did a lot of time whining, snivelling, and freaking out.

I got a lot more grateful for these examples of what God will do despite our merit. I still don’t understand why he puts up with us, but I’m grateful.

If there is a theme to this week’s selections, it seems to go

  • Israelites whining and snivelling, God being shockingly gracious about that.
  • Joyful Psalm of Praise to God; with admonition not to be like the Israelites when they were whining and snivelling.
  • Notes on how even when we were whiners and snivelers, our faith in what God does was all that really mattered.
  • And … I guess the section from John is perhaps an in vivo example? The woman at the well doesn’t seem overly snivelly to me, but she, too is an example of restoration being more about God’s doings than about ours. Best I’ve got on that one…

If you’re making use of some of the week’s verses, here they are all in one place.

OR, you can check out those pieces that most appeal to you:

Exodus 17: 1-7

Psalm 95

Romans 5: 1-11

John 4: 5-42

If you checked out the prayers last week, this week’s thematic PRAYERS will hold a remarkable familiarity – presumably indicating that there IS a theme, though I am refraining from looking up any further intel on Lent until it is over!

And last but not least, Lenten ART. I’m still a little Philistine in this area, though I do like the one from Jesus Mafa. It reminds me of many real-village-life scenes I’ve been part of, or seen, so it feels authentic.



The next Lent Post will be Saturday, 25 March.


Be well.



Lent 2017 – The Annunciation of the Lord

Welcome to Lent!!

(If you’re coming into this brand new, you might want to check out my first post in this series, so you don’t mistake this for any sort of ‘proper’ Lenten observance.)


The Annunciation of the Lord.


Full disclosure: I have no idea why the Annunciation of the Lord is dropped smack into the middle of Lent.

No argument that this is a critical piece of the plan of salvation … but it happened some 33 years before the events that Lent and Easter commemorate.

……  ?

Nonetheless, it’s well worth commemorating. Perhaps that is reason enough!

I do really like the selections for today – how the Gospel selection circles back all the way to the Isaiah, while the Psalm and the selection from Hebrews explain why the announcements in Isaiah are so important.

And I LOVE the prayers for today!


LOVE the names used in the intercessory prayer, like

‘Ever Surprising One’

and ‘God of Impossibilities’!


Still not all that big on the ART, but once again the image from JESUS MAFA has captured my heart!

The Annunciation – Gabriel and Mary ¹

 Now, I realise it’s probably not all that much more accurate a depiction of Mary than the weird European depictions of Jesus as a white guy, and maybe not even an accurate depiction of Gabriel (who knows??) but it just has a much more realistic feel about it.

Mary wasn’t exactly your Cathedral dwelling kind of girl, after all. She was MUCH more likely stirring something on the cook fire, or gathering wood, when Gabriel dropped in, and it’s neat to see the reminder of that.


If you are making use of the week‘s Lectionary verses, here they are all in one place.

And if you want check them out on their own: 

Isaiah 7:10-14

Psalm 45   OR   Psalm 40:5-10

Hebrews 10:4-10

Luke 1:26-38


The next Lent Post will be… TOMORROW! Sunday, 26 March.




Be well.




¹ JESUS MAFA. The Annunciation – Gabriel and Mary, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.  http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48278 [retrieved March 20, 2017].

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Welcome to Lent!!

(If you’re coming into this brand new, you might want to check out my first post in this series, so you don’t mistake this for any sort of ‘proper’ Lenten observance.)

Can you believe we are nearing the end of Lent 2017!?


This has been a tougher Lent for me in some ways than last year. I feel pulled in many directions right now, so my best ‘focus’ intentions haven’t resulted in as much focus action as I’d like.

Having the intention, however, helps me to refocus periodically throughout the day, the week. It reminds me that this is an observance, a practice, not an achievement.

And I suppose it ought to be reminding me that Lent, Easter, ETERNITY, aren’t about MY achievement or effort anyway!

How about you?

Have you found any interesting lessons in this latest week of Lent?


I am intrigued by the verses for today. They don’t have quite the obvious application to Lent as some of the other weeks.

And some of them kind of surprised me!

In the passage from Samuel I never noticed how God pretty much tells Samuel, “No worries, give this as your excuse…” !! Now, Samuel, of course, makes the excuse truthful, by making the sacrifice, but that isn’t the plan when God gives the order!

Sometimes God doesn’t seem nearly as uptight about rules as we are.

Another thing that caught my eye in this passage is how it begins with God’s saying ‘Don’t grieve over Saul anymore, I’ve got completely different plans.’

I find it interesting that that was a problem for Samuel.

It’s a problem for me.


But Samuel is this famous, hot-shot Prophet! Surely he wouldn’t get lost in clinging to plans without considering that God has better ones, right?

Yet he does.

Gives me some degree of comfort. Maybe God’s okay with me needing that little nudge here and there.

If you are using the Lectionary material as part of your celebration of Lent, here are all today’s verses in one place.


Or, if you prefer the a la carte option:

1 Samuel 16:1-13

Psalm 23    ← This is the most famous version, and it’s very popular, so I want to make sure to include it. But since some folks find the older translations too complicated here is a more modern version too. 

Ephesians 5:8-14

John 9:1-41

And of course we have ART  and  PRAYERS as well!

We are back to a set of thematic prayers that should feel pretty familiar by now. But the intercessory prayer is definitely new, and I love this one! 

My brothers and sisters:
reconciled to God by the mercy of Christ,
we pray with confidence for the needs of the church and the world.

(Prayers of the People, concluding with:)

Through Christ you make us a new creation, O God,
for with him we pass from sin to the new life of grace.
Accept our prayers in the warm embrace of your compassion,
and welcome all people to the festive banquet of your table,
where we may rejoice in your love
and celebrate the inheritance you have given to us.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen¹.

I think that is the most personal one so far.


The next Lent Post will be Sunday, 2 April. 



Be well.


¹ Reprinted from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts


Fifth Sunday in Lent

Welcome to Lent!!

(If you’re coming into this brand new, you might want to check out my first post in this series, so you don’t mistake this for any sort of ‘proper’ Lenten observance.)

How was your fourth week of Lent?


Mine was calmer, more … hopeful, I guess, though not without plenty of ‘excitement’ that I’d really rather bypass!

I think that is my lesson from this Lent: I can once again find calm in the midst of the storms.

That was never a problem for me until a few years ago, then it became a 100%, all the time, everywhere, problem. NOT a transformation I was cheerful about!

Last year I learned that I could trust God again. This year (at least a little) that I can find calm again. It certainly gives me hope for future years, within Lent and without!


Now, at the opposite end of the ‘peace’ spectrum, check out this week’s ‘First Reading’ from the Lectionary!

I have always found this passage from Ezekiel kind of disturbing.  It’s intriguing sometimes, when I’m feeling like all of my bones are dried and scattered, but a lot more of the time it’s just creepy. Can’t complain about that last verse though:

“I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I the Lord have spoken and will act.”

That’s all kinds of okay with me!


If you are making use of the week Lenten verses, here they are all in one place.

Or, if you prefer to pick one or two at a time:


Ezekiel 37:1-14  (Yes, if you’re wondering, I used The Message on this one because the passage itself doesn’t make a bit of sense to me, so at least with The Message I have the comfort of the WORDS feeling familiar and comprehensible!)

Psalm 130

Romans 8:6-11

John 11:1-45


This week’s  PRAYERS are a perfect complement to a bit more peaceful week too. The thematic prayers seem like old friends by now, and the scriptural prayer just seems to say everything that Lent, and Easter, need to say.

And, of course, we have Lenten ART ! I have to admit that for Ezekiel, the dark, grim feel that that ‘high’ art generally inspires in me seems fitting. I can’t see myself ever wanting it hanging on the wall, but the Vision of Ezekiel has a certain appeal.



The next, Lent Post will be…. Sunday, 9 April. 


Be well.



Lent 2017: Sixth Sunday in Lent. Liturgy of the Passion. The End.

Here we are!  Forty days of Lent: GONE!!


I dont know about you, but time has sped up for me.


How very different my life is even from just the first day of Lent. I can’t complain too much, but seriously, a little time to step out of this whirlwind would be welcome!

It will be interesting to see what the next 40 days bring…..

(Hopefully a good dose of strength and energy are part of that package!)


For this day the Lectionary provides us with two separate liturgies.

(Perhaps so we won’t take the end of Lent too hard?)

The Liturgy of the Palms and the Liturgy of the Passion.

I have no idea why they’re separate but I’ll go ahead and post them separately all the same. We have the usual number of prayers, but this one is special:


Merciful God,
your strength and courage pour forth
to sustain the witness of your faithful people.
Awaken in us the humility to serve
wherever creation is broken and in need,
that we may follow in the way of our brother, Jesus,
die as he did to all that separates us from you,
and with him be raised to new life. Amen.¹




If you are interested in this week’s verses, here they are all in one place.

And here they are for your singular perusing:

Isaiah 50:4-9a

Psalm 31:9-16

Philippians 2:5-11

Matthew 26:14-27:66  or  Matthew 27: 11-54  (Nope, not a clue as to why our ‘OR’ versions are the same text. Presumably go with the one you have time for??)


The next Lent Post will be … in 4 seconds.


Be well.


¹ Reprinted from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts

Lent 2017: Liturgy of the Palms


Artist of souls,
you sculpted a people for yourself
out of the rocks of wilderness and fasting.
Help us as we take up your invitation to prayer and simplicity,
that the discipline of these forty days
may sharpen our hunger for the feast of your holy friendship,
and whet our thirst for the living water you offer
through Jesus Christ. Amen.¹


And what more, really, is there to say?


If you are interested in today’s Lectionary readings here they are all in one place. And here they are on their own:

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

Matthew 21:1-11





The next Lent Post will be … Next Lent! (God willing.)

In the mean time, may the JOY of Lent stay with you! 😉


And a very blessed Palm Sunday to you!

Be well.

¹ Reprinted from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts



LENT 2018! Ash Wednesday.

Welcome to LENT.


It’s here!!  It’s here!


Or, rather, they’re here!!!

This year Lent and Valentine’s Day come together!

Can it get any better?!?!

(I only hope that none of my local acquaintances are giving up chocolate for Lent, since that is my main Valentine’s gift.)

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

As you know if you’ve been here long, I’m not big into giving things up for Lent – I usually focus on adding something.

This year though, I have decided to fast – I am giving up reading non-local Political and Environment news¹, and the Entrepreneur blog for Lent.

The reasons are pretty simple.

  • I’m out of time into which to add new things,
  • and I tend to neglect virtually anything in favour of NEW INFORMATION.
  • A clear path to more time, then, is to clear information clutter.

Add to that the fact that national and global political news generally makes me irascible, frustrated, despondent, or all of the above, and they seem like good candidates for some fasting!

Entrepreneur doesn’t bring out my worse sides. It just gets the boot because its site is so well set up, and its articles so useful right now, that I can easily spend an hour skipping from one fascinating read to another!

I’m hoping this will open up a good amount of time, into which I plan to add:

  • Fifteen minutes of daily focused meditation.
  • Fifteen minutes of daily moving meditation.
  • And those questions and projects I find relevant from an interesting little book that recently reviewed, called Word Made Art: Lent.

And now …

with the help of our dear and faithful Revised Common Lectionary, courtesy of those lovely folks at Vanderbilt University

… let’s get started!!

It’s Ash Wednesday!

The readings for Ash Wednesday are

And don’t forget! The Lectionary has prayers, ART, and much, much more for each week and event of this Lenten season!




Be well.

¹ There is one caveat – I will still read environmental news required to do my job. At the moment none of my project require this, so I’ll hope for the best!

Emotions, memories, observations…


How are you?

I’m well. It’s a gorgeous day, it is Valentine’s week, and it is LENT!

What a delicious week!

One of the things I’m adding to my life this Lent is a neat little book called Word Made Art: Lent  by a blogger I admire and respect, Heather Caliri.

One of this week’s Word Made Art questions was,

‘What emotions, memories, or observations does this week’s Bible Passage bring up?’

That turned out to be quite interesting!

My passage for this week is Isaiah 58:1-12.

Because of the book, I took time this year to really think about the emotions and observations it spurs.

Not get caught up in them, but just pay true attention to them.

AND to look more specifically for memories.

Emotions …

Delight, sadness and concern, and hope.

And odd mix? Perhaps, but life is odd.

The delight is straight forward enough: I am hopelessly in love with Isaiah 58!

It’s like having the whole Bible, and all of Christian living,  in two little pages! Everything that God is, everything he has designed and intended, and everything he wants for us is laid right out in this few splendid verses.

And yeah, I do feel sad and concerned at how different so much of the Church, at least in my country, is from what God has begged us to be.

It’s inevitable, a little sadness, and that is okay.

We only fix what we can recognise as broken.

Mostly, I feel HOPE!

This is such a passionate and intimate book! There’s nothing obscure in this baby!

It is the closest I feel like we ever get to sitting down with God over coffee and hearing his truest, deepest, thoughts. And his thoughts include things like

Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness –

I will always show you where to go.

I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places –

You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry.

You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew –

Then you’ll be free to enjoy God!

I’ll make you ride high and soar above it all.

His yoke isn’t heavy, and his goals for us make it well worth trying on, don’t you think?

Memories …

You know, it’s interesting.

I can’t help reading these verses and remembering these last two deeply distressing years in my country. But what I notice is not, mainly, the truly unfortunate choices we’ve made and their repercussions.

The images that mostly come to mind are people of all ages and colours at Standing Rock. And of the veterans flooding into those protest lines to lend their support.

And of Muslims hiding Christians on a bus in Africa, and Christians standing in support of Muslims and Jews here in the US.

Of a friend of mine who, though a single mom, has four young adopted children of her own,  and still finds room, and love, to care for foster children – numbers varying depending on the week.

Of the many friends of mine who offered everything from spare rooms to loans, moving help to help shouldering the burdens, during my transition through retrenchment.

and Observations …

Well, I wouldn’t feel the sad parts if I hadn’t been observing my ‘Christian’ culture!

We’ve strayed quite a ways from God’s fairly simple and holistic commands. It’s not good.

I fear that the whole ‘sheep and goats’ thing will be a nasty shock for some of us.

On the other hand, the concern I feel about my own failings, and those of my brothers and sisters in this world, is tempered by all the good I’ve been blessed to observe, and have, myself, received.

And I can’t help observing that Isaiah 58 helps to kick off Lent every year – like a brand new opportunity to see clearly!

I think that the many trials we are going through just now, and the fake Christianity that we seem to have built, will be overcome. Probably through some pain, and that sucks, but in the end – worth it!

That’s what I’ve got.

How about you?

Any insights from your Lenten observances?


Be well.