Ps 119:97-120 Jeremiah 8:18-9:6 Romans 5:1-11 John 8:12-20
PREPARATION FOR EASTER
Childhood memories of my family preparing for Easter made a deep and lasting impression upon me. I continue to re-enact many of those preparations in my home today.
I established my first home as a single woman following college graduation and was eager to start my own preparation for Easter. The first step was a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper for 5 dear friends. What fun we all had as we enjoyed that simple supper and decided what each of us would "give up" for Lent. We still talk about those Shrove Tuesdays we shared together!
The second step was the cleaning, from top to bottom, of my little abode. While doing so, I recalled many years of doing the same with my mother, daddy and brother. I remember those times as fun and cheerful rather than dull and boring. My favorite job was to polish the silver until I could see my own reflection!
Five years later, I married and moved to a larger home. My husband was keen on the Shrove Tuesday pancake with friends but, not so on the top to bottom cleaning of our home.
Three years later, our daughter was born, followed by our son the next year. They were included in the Easter preparation at an early age. They loved the Shrove Tuesday suppers (they each invited a friend) but, like their daddy, were not keen on the cleaning! Cleaning was followed by the decorating of eggshells. I treasure those eggshells so carefully emptied and decorated with paints, paper, ribbons, etc.
During the Shrove Tuesday suppers, home cleaning and eggshell decorating, we always talked about Easter and all that the season represents to us as individuals and as a family. Three of those words we spoke resonate with me today. Those three words are faith, hope and love.
St. Luke’s, Calistoga
Ps 95, 88 Job 19:21-Hebrews 4:2-16 Romans 8:1-11
“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God.” 1 Peter 4:1-8
One of my favorite TV programs ends with a segment during which members of a panel are asked, “What did you learn today?” As Lent begins to draw to a close we might each ask ourselves the same question, “What did I learn during this time of prayer, reflection, study and fasting?” I always hope that I will learn that giving up some human desire – watching TV, eating favorite foods, shopping, sleeping in – is well worth the spiritual gifts that come from turning my attention and focus to more worthy pursuits. Throughout Lent my desires and my conscience often play an unfriendly game of tug-o-war as I seek to move from time spent in human pursuits to finding more time for studying scripture, quiet meditation, and prayer. It is not that this is hard to do; it is just that the heartbeat of willingness is faint, erratic and has no steady rhythm unless I consciously surrender to the will of God.
Each Lent I am reminded again that it is worth learning to “let go and let God” for within that choice lays the secret to my serenity and peace. Living into “Thy will be done” is a daily practice that requires regular engagement with scripture, prayer and quiet time with God. When I maintain that practice it becomes a steady drumbeat of spiritual joy. What do I learn each Lent? That the Passion (pain, suffering and despair) always gives way to Easter (joy, peace and renewal), and it is willingness and obedience that makes this truth self-evident.
What have you learned? What impact has the Lenten experience had on your life? What will you do with this knowledge? What changes are you ready to make as you live into “Thy will be done?”