Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday Five: What Are You Doing For Lent?

Friday, February 08, 2008
Friday Five: What Are You Doing For Lent?

Ready or not, Lent is upon us!

1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras and/or Ash Wednesday this week? How?
I observed Ash Wednesday at Eucharist at Seminary, singing Return to the Lord Your God with the choir, and receiving ashes. Then I went to my teaching parish, The Country Church where I was cantor and assisted, and imposed ashes with my pastor. Both sides of the equation.

2. What was your most memorable Mardi Gras/Ash Wednesday/Lent?
The year my older daughter, who was probably two years old had to be taken out of church shrieking after she saw the Pastor's large black thumb headed for her forehead, and she freaked out.

3. Did you/your church/your family celebrate Lent as a child? If not, when and how did you discover it? I grew up Presbyterian and we did not really celebrate Lent, other than Ash Wednesday. Many of my friends were Catholic or Lutheran and I heard of their practices. And the Catholic Church was next door to mine, so on Wednesdays and Fridays it was obvious there was a lot going on.

4. Are you more in the give-up camp, or the take-on camp, or somewhere in between?
It is a mixed bag.
5. How do you plan to keep Lent this year?
I am reading Bread and Wine. I have a Lenten discipline partner at Seminary. We participated in a blessing service where about 30 of us haved paired up to discuss and keep each other accountable as we journey in Lent. She gave up Coca Cola products because their factories create water shortages in the countries where they mass produce. I gave up making excuses - for things like why I did not eat healthy, did not exercise, did not make that phone call.. If the choice is to do it or not, and you cannot justify the action, one of two things will be the focus, discipline and forgiveness. It is good to embrace and accept both.


Muthah+ said...

I stopped in because I wanted to know how Lutheran seminarians understand Lent and because even though I am acting as a Lutheran pastor, I still have not a clue what you folks mean by Law and Gospel.

Have a holy Lent

LawAndGospel said...

I certainly do not want to speak for all of my fellow seminarians, but in a nutshell, Lent can be a time of preparation for reaffirmation of baptism and time to pursue the practices of study, worship, prayer, fasting and good deeds for others as way to focus on living out our baptism and our relationship with God. We held a service on Shrove Tuesday in Preparation for Lent where we promised to engage in discipline and renewal.
Similarly in short, my understanding of Law is the law given to the people of Israel and the covenants made with God, as embodied in the Torah, and further explained in the wisdom, history and prophetic literature of the Old Testament. The people continued in various ways to break the covenant with God. Jesus came to fulfill prophecy and to create a new covenant with the people, all people. Jesus did not come to replace the law, but to restate a new context. By His fulfillment of the law, the gospel, Good News, is our freedom from bondage to sin, death and the devil. We cannot fully comprehend our need for the Gospel without an understanding of our inability to fulfill the law. It is only God's grace which grants us salvation and the ability to begin to come to know God.

Diane said...

I like what you say about giving up excuses for Lent!

Diane said...

This is how I understand Law and Gospel, experiencially.
Law is everything we experience as demand, when God makes demands on us. Gospel is what we experience as promise, as gift. There are also the 2 (or 3, depending on who you talk to) uses of the law. First use is to order community, so we can live together. 2nd use is the "theological use", to reveal our sinfulness.

I don't know why I'm typing this here!

Oh well, time for bed.