Ash Wednesday is coming up.I was at a session meeting last week when someone asked where the palm branches from last year's Palm Sunday were. Like many churches, Winnsboro stores theirs on a shelf all year-long then burns them for Ash Wednesday. I've seen enough Cokesbury catalogs to know you can buy the ashes commercially so I'm always a little surprised when churches burn their own. And I think this is more than being thrifty--it personalizes the imposition of the ashes a bit more.
It brings a tiny pain to my heart to know this will be the first Ash Wednesday at the Garland church since Ron Schmidt's death. This is just one of the many chores he did so well that nobody ever thought about it. The ashes simply showed up.
With Lent people think of ways they can spend quiet time getting closer to what God wants them to do. And a lot of people give up something important, a part of their daily routine, like facebook. I did give up chocolate once for Lent and I'm never doing that again. I not even sure it brought me closer to the atmosphere of Lent. It brought mostly rage.
Most pastors will urge you to take on something like extra devotions or bible study rather than give up something like chocolate.
I think this year I will take on daily meditation and prayer. Yes, I know a lot of people do this all the time but I have a really hard time being still on a routine basis.
By a wonderful God-incidence, I have just finished up writing instructions on how to make a chalk labyrinth on concrete. Every time I walk a labyrinth I get inspired to teach others how to make their own. A few weeks ago Marie Nelson at Camp Gilmont threw out an idea of painting one in their outdoor chapel. The floor is smooth concrete and makes a perfect canvas.
So I'm going to send you straight to that set of instructions on my other blog, Really Cool Stuff. I hope this might inspire someone to take up this ministry, or even just take a stab at it. If you mess it up there's no harm done. But I can tell you from experience that everytime you walk a lab it's a different experience. And sometimes you can have an awesome insight that changes everything.
"Insight" is another word for spiritual experience. People are afraid they will be categorized with Joan of Arc if they claim God spoke to them so they call it "insight." Where else would the "sight from within" come from if not God? I don't think our brain can claim spiritual revelations through their own talents.
May we be faith-filled enough to open ourselves for God to speak to us this Lenten season. And brave enough to do what God asks of us.
Here's the link to that blog: jane-reallycoolstuff.blogspot.com/2015/02/chalk-labyrinth.html
And if you want to paint one in your field for the summer you can scroll back to earlier blogs where I teach how to do that.