1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday this year? Any memories of memorable celebrations past?
I attended a pancake supper at our church. This one is prepared and served by the vestry and clergy. One of my happiest memories is from St. John's in Tallahassee, where I was christened and confirmed. The youth group there did the cooking and serving, making quite a mess. But it was glorious fun to do this service and to be thanked and praised for doing so. We did have an outstanding youth group.
The following is lifted from Mary Beth's pancake supper story.
"Looking back, one of my earliest memories is of a pancake supper at the church we attended when I was a LITTLE girl - maybe 3 or 4? Old enough to be picked up and held. My mother was talking to someone and I brightly pointed out,"Mommy, there's the Paster's wife!" Pronounced as if the woman's husband used paste for a living. What I wonder now is, where in the WORLD did I ssee the word "Pastor" since we never, ever referred to our Rector as that? It sas "Rector, Reverend, or Father (this was before women's ordination!) Reading, I'm sure; I still have a great number of words in my head that I know from reading and context but am not sure how to pronoun e properly. But Pastor? At four? A church geek from the start, I guess."
Here is your answer, MB:
for a few years, you and Nancy attended Bible School at the local Lutheran church with Christina and Bert Johnson. The sign out front listed both the pastor and the pastor's wife. Reading sounds, as you do, you came up with paster. Once I heard you and saw the sign, I got it, explained it to you and you had it right - but it became a source of family amusement. Once, at about 8 years old, I found a book at my grandad's house, titled The Four Horsement of the Apocalypse. I read anything I could find, so I read it, but I pronounced apocalypse with the emphasis on the third syllable. I'd never heard any0ne say that word. You are so very much my daughter! If we don't know how to say something, we just make it up! )
2. How about Ash Wednesday, past and or present?
I have always attended Ash Wednesday service, and was even permitted to leave high school to go to the noonday service, but my understanding of this service has changed and deepened. This year's was very serious and mindful of our mission in the world and of our own growth as Christians. There was no music for the noon service and somehow that made it more stark and realistic.
3. Does your church practice this joyful season? Are there emphases or practices to share? and
4. Do you have a personal plan of give-ups, take-ons, special ministries, and/or a special focus for your own spiritual growth between now and Easter?
As children we always "gave up' something for Lent, and hadn't a clue why we were doing it. For now, I add a discipline to my life in order to deepen my walk. I have several this year, and part of this is leading the group which will meet weekly at our home to study the message in the sermon the previous Sunday. For Anglicans, Lent is not a joyful time, but a time for introspection and preparing for the greater joy of Easter.
5. What is your dream for the image of Christ coming to perfection in you, the church, the world? How can we support you in prayer?
I don't see Christ coming to perfection in my imperfect self - not in this world, but I keep trying. I daily work toward a deeper relationship with Christ and His Father. Evangelizing by leading and teaching Bible studies is part of this. I seem to learn best by teaching.
Please pray for the unity of the church of Christ in this world, as this seems so difficult for most of us. Pray for Janet and Sarah, that their several illnesses may be healed. Pray for us all as we all live in bodies which are older today than they were yesterday. Ask that we use our time in a way pleasing to our Father.
Bonus: Forgive us Father, for we have sinned in wanting (passive) you rather than by willing (active) and in needing you and not asking. You have told us "ask and it will be given" and instead of asking, we tend to sit and whine. Stir us up so that it will be impossible for us to sit and whine, but will impel us to proclaim your gospel to all who will even listen.