Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Lent’

Friends, Food, Feathers, Music, Mustangs


This morning was the first of six community Lenten breakfasts. We held it at our church. The next five will be at five other churches in Ennis and Jeffers, Montana. Our topic today was HOPE. About 40 friends from around the community gathered to kick off this Lenten season with food and music, and a message of Hope, delivered by our Rev. Steve Hundley.

Breakfast was in our Fellowship Hall.

Our faithful friend, George and his wife, Lucy, arrived about 5:30 AM to set up the food, make the coffee and get ready for the 7:00 AM crowd.

After breakfast, in preparation for Steve’s message of HOPE, we sang this wonderful hymn. It lends direction to our hopes for this Lenten season and everyday… especially in this world of hatred, injury, doubt, despair, darkness, and sadness. Let us determine to be the peace we seek to find.

So that’s the food and friends and music. What about the feathers? Yesterday I told you about my friend, Bernie, who is in the hospital and has set up quite an artistic “mess” on his tray table. Let me show you:

He has quite a menagerie of feathers there. Look at the flies he is able to create with them:

Yes, WOW!! That’s the feathers… and their creative use for catching some mighty big trout!

But what about the mustangs? Well, our Ennis High School mascot is the Mustang. When I drove by the school this morning, I had to top and take a picture for you of these MAGNIFICENT bronze mustangs. They were created by a local artist (Ennis is an art town with 6 art galleries in a place with a population of less than 1,000).

Aren’t they something?!!

I’ll try to find out the sculptor’s name and let you know later. It’s important to give him/her credit!

But for now, I am headed to my TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) group. I hope I didn’t gain too much with those scrumptious egg casseroles this morning. I had to try a little of each!

Look for that trophy again… I want to be the biggest loser. I have 6 more pounds to take off to get back to my goal weight.

See ya later!

Calendar Says It’s Spring


The calendar says it’s spring,
But the weather says it ain’t.
Hoar frost greeted my morning.
“Smile,” it said.
I replied, “I cain’t!”

Home- TOPS- Lenten Brkfst

Then off I went to Lenten Breakfast
While I marveled at the frost.
I skidded on the icy drive.
“Relax,” I thought.
Then wondered, “At what cost?”

I made it to the breakfast
With the help of neighborly folks.
The place was bright and cheerful.
“Let’s eat,” they invited.
I laughed at friendly jokes.

Lenten Brkfst

My next stop was at TOPS*
Where I weigh in to keep off pounds.
My KOPS** buddies inspire me.
“Did you eat all your breakfast?”
“Nope, I left one of the rounds!”

Paper Hat

My reward was to wear the hat
That signified I’d lost the most weight.
What a treat – worth the feat!
“Keep up the good work!” they encouraged.
I headed home – feeling great!

The calendar says it’s spring,
But the weather says, “Not yet!”
White stuff still covers the ground.
“Smile,” it said.
Sun sparkled. I sang, “You bet!”

Are you enjoying this first day of spring?
What did YOU do??

 

  • * TOPS = Take Off Pounds Sensibly
  • ** KOPS = Keep Off Pounds Sensibly
  • Check it out, if you need encouragement to
    “keep off pounds sensibly”, too.  Log in to  http://www.tops.org

Conscious Refueling


blur dusk evening gas station

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

PRAYER FOR CONSCIOUS REFUELING

 
When I look with an honest eye
At my conscience and what it is saying,
I hear all the sinful confessions,
And know peace –  only by praying.

 
I pray for God’s grace and forgiveness.
I pray for God’s patient renewal
Of my attitudes and behaviors.
Please, Lord, help me come and refuel.

 
Your station of spiritual love
Is right here at my open heart door.
May I drink of its true Living Water,
And return daily to fill me once more.

timelapse photography off water fountain

Photo by Gabriel Peter on Pexels.com

Self-Examination


Lent is upon us.
It is a 40 day period when we prepare for the coming of Easter.
One way to prepare is to practice the art of self-examination.
Look deeply into yourself.
Be prepared to acknowledge your areas of struggle.

Invite God to help you over the hurdles.

.

In Soul Feast by Marjorie J. Thompson, we are reminded that we cannot escape from God’s all-seeing eye. She writes, “When we feel searched and known by a gracious God, we are both moved and enabled to search our own hearts honestly.”

green wooden board with heart hole

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

.
I was inspired by Thompson’s invitation to “Open the door of our heart to cleansing, renewal and peace.” In response, I wrote the following poem:
.
.
SELF-EXAMINATION
 
Nothing we do or fail to do
Can alter the depth of God’s love.
It’s truly unconditional,
A sure-fire gift from above.
 
Knowing the truth of this gift,
Knowing the depth of affection,
Allows us to be real with ourselves,
And honest with God in confession.
 
We can acknowledge to God openly
The weakness displayed in our sin,
And remember He knows it already – 
So, open your heart; Let God in!

close up of tree against sky

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

.
When you look deeply into yourself,
what areas of struggle do you acknowledge?
 
Invite God to help you over the hurdles.

To Give or to Give Up?


Today is Ash Wednesday.
Many Christians around the world are wondering today,
“What should I give up for Lent?”

What to Give Up?

Once you decide, you ask yourself if this is like a New Year’s resolution. Will I be able to keep my commitment? Can I keep the spark alive for 40 days? Or will I give up?

monochrome photo of person holding sparkler

Photo by Sumit Rai on Pexels.com

 

Forty days is a long time! Can I give up coffee or carbs? Dessert or just donuts? How about carrots or cabbage, broccoli or brussels sprouts?

assorted vegetable lot

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

 

What do you obsess about?

A promise to give up something for Lent
needs to be a promise to rid ourselves
of something that we obsess about.

We need to cleanse our bodies and souls of something that distracts us
from focusing on the meaning of this season
in preparation for the sacrifice of the “Bread of Life”
who gave His body for our salvation.


If spiritual discipline is what fasting is supposed to be about,
does giving up something you can do without
really do the trick?

 

photography of pink doughnut

Photo by Jonathan Miksanek on Pexels.com

 

Looking at Lent through the eyes of Marjorie J. Thompson,
who wrote the book “Soul Feast,”
I began to understand
the concept of fasting a little better.
She wrote, “… the discipline of fasting…
has to do with the critical dynamic
of accepting those limits that are life-restoring.”
She went on to caution us,
“Do not underestimate what God can
accomplish in you through the consistent offering
of such a discipline.”

The discipline is that of “self-emptying.”

What is Self-Emptying?

Self-emptying is “giving up something”  –
but it doesn’t have to be food!
Fasting from a particular food we crave
is NOT the ONLY way to acknowledge the onset of Lent.

Let’s decide to “self-empty” of something.

The word Lent was derived from a Saxon word meaning “spring.” In the early church, Lent was viewed as a spritual spring, a time of light and joy in the renewal of the soul’s life. James Earl Massey wrote, “Fasting is not a renunciation of life; it is a means by which new life is released within us.”

What can we give up in order to release new life in us?

More Than Food!

Fasting is about more than food. It is about hungering for the things that matter most. It is about abstaining from those activities that pull us away from what we know we OUGHT to be doing.

  • What about fasting from constantly checking your cell phone?
  • What about fasting from daily absorption in the “breaking news” – the TV?
  • What about giving up the tendency to let our minds wander when in fact we want to be meditating and entering into prayful communion with God?
  • How about a fast from negativity or criticism?Those are some of the things we can “give up” without giving up the intent of Lent.


To Give or to Give Up?

But what about GIVING instead (or in addition to) giving up? What might I GIVE to honor God during this season of Lent?

A couple of years ago, I read in a Guideposts Magazine about a woman who had spent the 40 days of Lent in what I thought was a very unique way. She created a list of 40 people who made a difference in her life. These people who positively influenced her were from every walk of life – family, work, church, childhood friends, neighbors, teachers, etc. Once she generated her list, she wrote a letter a day. In her notes, she told each of them how important they were in her life, how much she appreciated them, how grateful she was for what they meant to her.

I read that and thought, “I can do that!
I can think of 40 people who deserve a thank you
from me for what they have done in my life.”

arts and crafts cardboard close up design

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My trouble was, however, limiting the list to just 40. When you stop and think about it, I bet you can easily name 40 or more who have touched your life in a meaningful way. I had to make some of the names “couples.” Then, I was able to begin my 40 days of letter writing. It was a wonderful act of “giving” – and filled the time I might have been eating that food I crave!

Yes, you can give – and give up – at the same time.

What will you do to honor this season,
to create a time of “interior spring cleaning” 
that leads to God in the core of your being
while making your life more nourishing for others?

Think about it…
and tell me what you come up with
in the comments below,
will you?

Good News


This is the season of Lent. It’s the nine weeks leading up to Easter when we prepare for the remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection by focusing on the Good News of His life. Here are my sermon notes from yesterday’s Lenten message delivered by Pastor Jean Johnson at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church. It’s worth pondering.

 

I have Good News to share today:
Jesus came to us with JOY to proclaim!
He was rejected for the words He spoke,
Rejected for His deeds in God’s name.

Cruelty, rejection, brutality could not
Turn God against us – no way!
The horrible, humiliating crucifixion
Did not stop God, who is with us this day.

God has drawn nearer to us;
He has taken up residency in this place.
He is busy continuing to create for us
Our future in a blessed, glorious, eternal space.

Faith comes through hearing, so we sit
And listen to preaching and reading
Of the scripture and reflections on The Word.
It’s the Good New we are hearing and heeding.

Or are we?

 

What are we doing to Live His Word and prepare our hearts for Him today? I am praying for my life to be a reflection of Christ’s teaching, a mirror of love that reflects the fruits of the spirit: love, compassion, generosity, gentleness, self-control, gratitude, joy, and kindness. Join me, my friends, as we pray together for the Good News to sink in and Christ’s life to find full meaning in our hearts. Have a happy and reflective Lenten Season!

Tag Cloud