Good Friday

“There’s a hymn which has a verse beginning, ‘Jesus is Lord! Yet from his throne eternal, in flesh he came to die in shame on Calvary’s tree.’ There is one word there that is wrong. It shouldn’t be ‘yet’. It should be ‘so’. Jesus is Lord, and so, and therefore, he came into the world, came to his own people, came to the place of fear and death itself. He came out of love, love for the father, love for the world. …The son of man has arrived at the place where the problem began, to take its full force upon himself.” [N.T. Wright]

Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. 

On Just Such a Morning

On any given day, as a mother to a toddler, you will be pulled in a million different directions: unending tasks to attend to, stories to read, meals to cook/feed/clean up, diapers to change, boo-boo’s to kiss, and … you get the idea. Nap time is quite literally, sacred. In the last several weeks I have even attempted to make it more intentional by fasting from screens (Lent) and trying to build in habits of meditation and prayer. It has been challenging, but also rewarding. I was reading more than I had in a long time, journaling more intentionally, and listening to some amazing music that I hadn’t taken the time to enjoy in ages.

Come and listen…
Come and listen to what He has done. 

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Quiet afternoons

I’ve enjoyed some very peaceful and quiet afternoons the past few days. I decided to fast from “screens” during nap time so I could find spend more intentional time reading or praying. So far I haven’t missed the constant “connection” that the laptop or phone or iPad usually affords me and I’ve made some real progress in a number of books I’ve been wanting to read. A few times I’ve caught myself wanting to check my email or look up a recipe during the afternoon, but if I just sit in the quiet space for a minute the feeling usually passes. This weekend I was also challenged to just sit in my “feelings” of self-denial (we so seldom do!) – what’s wrong with feeling a little bored? a little hungry? Our lives are shaped around our comfort and so often we put little thought toward why we do the things we do, or the pace with which we do them. I want to rush through nap time and get as much accomplished as possible. I have a mile-long “to do” list and half a dozen books or websites to read, meals to prepare, laundry to do, or blog posts to draft. 😉 It has been so refreshing to just sit and reflect and pray and feel little baby somersaults.

“Lead us back, our Father, to your Torah;
bring us near, our King, to your service,
and cause us to return in perfect repentance before you.
Blessed are you, O Lord, who accepts repentance.”
[from the Amidah]

May you have a quiet & peace-filled March 1st.
…only 20 days until spring!

Fish…the “non-meat”

If you haven’t noticed, the Lenten season is always heralded by an increase in seafood options at your local fast-food joint. Wendy’s alaskan cod is back! Filet-o-fish… 2 for $3.49! I think Subway even gets in the mix with a “crab” meat sub (yikes!). I don’t know where the idea that fish meat doesn’t count as “real” meat came from, but I will proudly be the first in line at a fish fry! 😉 Fish has often been included in various vegetarian (pescetarian) lifestyles, and so for people fasting from meat for Lent it is a welcome alternative.

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Return to God

“Yet even now, says the Lord, repent and return to me with all your heart.” –Joel 2:13

This morning I read a beautiful blog post that captured the heart of the Lenten season. Here is the *introduction: “Today is Ash Wednesday—the beginning of the Church’s observance of the Lenten season. Ash Wednesday ushers us into a space in time in which we engage very intentionally into the disciplines of prayer, self-examination and repentance.  But these disciplines—as significant as they are—are not ends in themselves.  They are a means to an end and that end is that we would return to God with all our hearts.”

I grew up in an evangelical Christian tradition, but my family never really practiced a strict observance of the Church calendar. In the last few years we’ve tried to grow in our understanding and appreciation of not only the Christian and Jewish calendars, but our personal practice and participation in them with our community.

Returning to God begins with repentance and the ashes on our heads remind us of our human condition. Even though the thought is sobering it is also hopeful. The next 6 weeks can lead us through our own weakness and back to His heart. I hope to give up some “screen time” this Lent, but also to not become so focused on the fast that I forget the end: to “return to God with all [my] heart.”

*If you’d like to read the whole article you can find it here.