Where to start?
So much is going on between The Denver Broncos Super Bowl victory, Chinese New Year (Hello Monkey Year!), Ash Wednesday and Lent, Jayhawk basketball, President’s Day and Valentine’s Day.
I will admit, that this week is pretty full. But it’s these kind of weeks that can help clarify what is a priority and what is the colorful spice of life. You’re going to have your own version of “Denver Broncos” or “Chinese New Year.” They are important! Don’t apologize. They add color to our lives and become the containers of bigger stories.
But, they can be confused with anchoring stories. Anchoring stories are the ones that will be there in good times and bad. The one that you can cling to when you’re not sure if the story is big enough to hold. The truth is, and you know this, that is when the color of life pales. Color is good! It is. I love color (you’ve seen my glasses, right?), but the colorful subplots can’t anchor us.
The church year is one way to anchor in the bigger story of God’s love story for humanity. Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. In preparing for Lent, I’ve done a tiny bit of research (please dial back your exciement, the truth is I could share a lot more about the Broncos than I can about Lent). Maybe Lent is sneaking up on you and now you feel guilty and wonder if you’re going to “do” it wrong.
Interesting facts about Lent:
- It is 40 days, not counting Sundays. Sundays are meant to be feast days, and different from the fasting days of Lent.
- Speaking of fasting, in French, the word Lent means slow. I don’t know why this delights me so much but it does. Don’t you love the playfulness of God? Fast. Slow. I love it. For the season of Lent, I’m trying to fast from busyness and fully embrace “slow.” This post was “supposed” to be published on Monday, but in the spirit of Lent, I’m letting it slowly arrive a day late.
Ignore that whisper you might do it wrong and instead, look at what you might do. Here are a few ideas I’m going to try this year:
1. I’m going to eat pancakes the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. (See the Amy and Britta show to see why). But isn’t that lovely? Pancakes. Yes, I can do that.
2. Following an idea Kimberlee shared in her book The Circle of Seasons, I’ve purchased seven purple votive candles that I’ll arrange in the shape of a cross on a table. Advent is a season where as the days get darker, more candles are lit, showing that Christ is coming. In Lent, the days are getting brighter, but each week, I’ll light one less candle reminding myself that without Jesus, the world becomes darker and darker.
3. 30 Seconds Bible for Lent – I’m excited to be part of this project, which has some big names (Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Science Mike) and some great Bible teachers I know (Tanya Marlow, Tara Owens) – and me. The idea is that every day in Lent you hear a summary of a Bible book, and why it’s good news in just 30 seconds, working through a book or two of the Bible each day. That means by the end of Lent you will have heard the summarized message of the entire Bible in just over an hour. Check out the trailer here (starting Monday Feb 8th) and follow along the series here
4. I’m also excited to share that Kimberlee is going to guest post here at The Messy Middle twice during Lent/Easter and is blogging through the psalms of ascent during this season. I love hearing from Kimberlee. I love those psalms.
5. Britta has a wonderful project called Meet Me In the Middle. Britta noticed—and I’m guessing this will resonate with you—that we are taken with before and after pictures. But what about the messy middle? The part of the process that might be chaotic and feel like nothing is happening? Easter is the biggest before and after pictures ever, let Lent be a season of meeting in the middle. I’ve been looking around for some before and after pictures to share. Stay tuned.
Here’s the Amy and Britta Show where we talk about Lent when we were kids, what we’re doing this year for Lent (learn why I’m eating pancakes), and more.
On Friday I’ve got a book give away for you, can’t wait!
Thanks for all the kind wishes for the Broncos victory. It was fun to cheer with other Broncos fans and not have to dial back my passion because I was watching with a massive group in Thailand :). What’s the colorful parts of your life? Of these ideas, which might you like to try? What do you do for Lent?
Tanya Marlow says
We have pancakes every year on Shrove Tuesday! Hurrah!
I hadn’t heard of it before (I know, what rock was I living under?!). I love the idea of pancakes!
Kimberlee Conway Ireton says
Our church hosts a pancake supper for our kids every other year on Shrove Tuesday. (This is an off-year, sadly.) Also, I didn’t know that the French word for Lent means slow. I LOVE that!