Well, it’s Lent, and not only did I not get ashes on Ash Wednesday, but I also forgot to go to Eucharistic Adoration last Friday. I think of these things, telling myself throughout the day, “Remember, remember, remember …” and then I forget. I especially regret not going to adoration. This is something that may not make sense to a lot of people, but it’s basically sitting still in church or a little chapel, with the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. It’s like spending some quiet quality time with a good friend. Anyway, as you can see, my Lent is off to a great start.
I’m not giving up fried food or chocolate ice cream this year, but instead committing to spending time every day in prayer. Remember when your kids were little and you struggled to spend time with one of them alone, to give them that extra attention that makes them feel even more loved? That’s the way I think of prayer. It’s spending one-on-one time with someone I love. Now all I have to do is make sure nothing else gets in my way so that I can follow through with this every day.
Lent is my favorite part of the Christian year, even more so than the Christmas season. Replicating those 40 days Jesus spent in the desert before his crucifixion can be very powerful. Lent makes you pause a bit and do some reflecting, as well as reminding us to do good works — something I should really work on throughout the year, but rarely do. When’s the last time I brought a homemade treat to someone I don’t see very often, or when I offered to volunteer anywhere, or to just sit with someone who might be lonely? All those little acts of kindness that I give so little thought to start to pile up undone after a while, and the next thing I know, I’m worrying more about what I could order on Amazon with my next paycheck than I am about that old friend I meant to call.
Unless I concentrate very hard on helping others, I just never get around to it. And it makes me crazy, because it’s literally pretty much the most important thing God asks us to do. Just be kind to each other. Seems so simple. Well, that’s my struggle these days, and I’m sure we each have our own.
That being said, I reached out to some Island clergy to see if they were doing anything special for the Lenten season.
Father Chip Seadale at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church was happy to tell me about a lot of things going on at church. St. Andrew’s Laboratory of Love group put together a Lent Calendar, along the lines of an advent calendar, only it has entries each day for something you can do, like take a walk or do something nice for a neighbor. There’s also a small group meeting once a week to pray and share experiences around their daily work. A new Bible study group that will follow “The Path: A Journey Through the Bible” will meet twice a month for 26 weeks. There’s a new book lined up for the small group book club, titled “Grounded,” by Diana Butler Bass.
More than anything though, Father Chip says they’re excited to take off the masks and welcome springtime. He invites everyone to check out the Sunday 8 or 10 am service, with a free breakfast in between.
The Rev. Charlotte Wright at the Federated Church in Edgartown tells us that besides their in-person, live-streaming, and recorded service at 10 am on Sunday, they are also doing “Lenten Study: Telling Our Stories,” led by Stoddard and Linda Lane-Reticker. The study series begins this Thursday, March 17, from 7 to 8:30 pm in person at the Parish House.
Wright describes the series: “Recognizing and telling others about the things God has done in our lives is part of the Judeo-Christian tradition, with examples in both the Old and New Testaments. Each week of this study there will be a Bible scripture and a story from the Bible about people as they encounter God in their lives. Finally, we will think about our own stories and practice telling them in ways that are personal, honest, short, and glorify God.”
Everyone is welcome to attend, but do email the leaders at email@example.com if you plan to attend, or if you have any questions.
The First Congregational Church of West Tisbury has the Rev. Vicky Hanjian leading a “Women’s Bible Study for Lent: Exploring the Book of Job.” The series began Wednesday, March 16, and continues on Wednesdays through April 6 at 10:30 am.
Here’s a bit of description about the series: “We live in a confusing and often volatile world where innocent people often suffer while those who seem heedless of the need for human understanding and compassion transgress against other human beings in personal and public ways without apparent suffering or responsibility. Where is God in the midst of the tumult and confusion?
“The book of Job examines the divine/human relationship under stress in a kind of parable — complete with a ‘fairytale’ beginning and ending that embrace the central dialogue between Job and his friends and between Job and God. While it is a controversial work that conflicts with the conventional wisdom for the time in which it was written, Job is very conversant with the Hebrew Scriptures, and is a veritable treasure trove of wisdom.”
You’re invited to register ahead of time, either with the church office or with Hanjian at 508-696-8225 or firstname.lastname@example.org, so that preparation materials may be emailed to participants prior to meeting.
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