Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Lent is one of my favorite times in the church year. Yeah, I know it's a little strange.  It appears to be this dark, contemplative time in the last weeks of winter, to give up chocolate. Or coffee. But, I like lent because it's a time set apart for renewal.  And  a time to participate in my congregational community a bit more deeply with soup suppers and simple mid-week services.  Lent gives me the chance to remember my blessings and simplify my life.  Lent gives me a chance to breathe just when things get crazy and reminds me that I am loved regardless of how much I accomplish.

This week has been full of reminders that things that are NOT going to be simple in the coming months.  Grad school internship interviews, CPE applications for the summer, kindergarten registration & introducing solid foods, and discussions about how much is enough to offer our dream nanny for the crazy summer/fall schedule changes.  My life feels so far from simple these days I could cry. And I have.

But here comes lent. Right at the time I crave it most. Right before I start taking my anxiety out on my family and friends, I am reminded that there is one with me who wants to lighten my load.  One who cares and will not judge my imperfections.  One who actively participates in my suffering, anxiousness, joy, and fear, and who is witnessed to me in my community.  Even when I am unwilling to notice.

My lenten discipline this year will be to pray the psalms.  I am not a pray-er.  I mean, personally.  When asked to pray in public, I can roll out stuff of gold thanks to all of my theological education, but personally, I struggle with the ideas of results from prayer.  Last year around this time I spent 2 weeks with members of the ELCA Deaconess Community and a brother who was there taught me that the psalms are the prayers of all Gods people across the world and time.  AND, even if a psalm doesnt resonate with me as I pray it, I am joining in prayer with Christ for someone who needs that prayed.  Just like, in my prayerlessness, Christ shouts and sings and raises psalm prayers for my wordlessness.

And I do hope to have a personal benefit from this discipline.  I hope to work on hearing every persons story as uniquely theirs and not judge them based on my experience.  And I hope to find a place of refuge from the anger I inherit from injustices - small and large.  For I feel so skeptical of everything and everyone so much of the time that I fear I push people away from myself without knowing it.  May the Psalms of lent be my solace.

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