I realize most people are counting the days until Easter when they can eat chocolate again or have a glass of wine. I am wishing that it could go on through Pentecost.
I read a couple of blog posts from Christians suggesting that instead of giving up food or alcohol for Lent, to set aside time for to prepare your heart for Easter. It is my first real Lenten season. The other churches I have attended have not given as much time and attention to Lent. I am now attending St John’s Lutheran church and they go all out for Lent. It is like Advent only better because the rest of society is ignoring it for the most part. It is personal without the social obligations.
The last time I attended a Maundy Thursday service was so long ago I cannot remember. Tonight was especially moving. They had three elements that I have never experienced together in a service. First there was a pastoral laying on of hands to individuals for the forgiveness of sins. It was an emotional experience. Then about half of the congregation elected to go forward for foot washing. This was also the topic of the sermon and a wonderful reminder of how humble our faith is meant to help us become. And then we celebrated communion as it is the night of the Last Supper in Holy Week.
The end of the service was especially moving as the pastors stripped the altar of all decoration and the entire front of the church became dark and the crucifix was draped in black. We all filed out in silence.
I have been enjoying the Lent devotions provided on-line by the Auckland Anglican Diocese. It has been really helpful to stay focused for the full 40 days. Sometimes the devotion is a call to service or action, sometimes a meditation on scripture or music. It also occasionally provided links to videos.
I also discovered an artist who lived in England in the Victorian era who dedicate her life to taking the gospel to the Arab people in Algeria. I watched the video Many Beautiful Things: The Life and Vision of Lilias Trotter with the Sacramento Friends and then began reading her biography A Passion for the Impossible by Miriam Huffman Rockness.
There is no reason to stop the reading after Easter. And I can look for a similar devotion. And at the same time it is good to have a season set apart for spiritual focus.