i grew up in a pretty traditional church. we sat in pews, sang music from hymnals, listened to reverend klingerman preach from an actual pulpit in full robe and stoll, and each week we recited the apostles creed. we also celebrated the season of lent. the cross was draped with a purple cloth and we had a mid-week service from ash wednesday to passion week.
i honestly can't tell you much about the service itself. the only thing i remember is that they took song requests. i always tried to pick mine ahead of time so i could be the first one with my hand in the air when they started calling for hymn numbers. also, we had a potluck dinner in fellowship hall each of those weeks...always a good time.
we moved to a different church when i was in high school and the season of lent, with the exception of palm sunday and good friday, was kind of forgotten. a few years ago it began to resurface around me. i started attending ash wednesday services and learning more about what it lent really means. i've grown to love the hauntingly beautiful phrase spoken during the imposition of the ashes..."remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return".
i don't feel like i'm very "good" at lent. some days i'm contemplative. other days i go through the whole day without ever pausing to think or be quiet. i've never even given up chocolate...which i'm pretty sure is the leading lenten sacrifice. one year i gave up tv after 10pm (i had a slight addiction to the king of queens). most years i don't give up anything. this year, instead of giving something up, i've chosen a few things to be intentional about. in a season that is meant for repentance, preparation, reflection, discipline and self-denial, i've come up with some practical ways to participate in these things. we'll see how it goes. i'm trying not to be my typical type-a self that agonizes over the 'rules' and details of it all. instead i just want to be more mindful of what is really important, and to accept the Lord's invitation to..."come back to me, with all of your heart".