I’ve just finished my 3rd (yes third) Ash Wednesday service in 24 hours. We started last night with an Intergenerational Service after the Shrove Tuesday Pancake supper. This is the second time we’ve done this and it is easily one of my favorite services ever.
This year we cut out a bunch of pictures from magazines and asked people to choose one image that indicated something they were grateful for and then asked them to think about the ways that we had not taken care of these things and honoured them as they deserved. I used the example of a dog; I often don’t take Gus for the walks I should, and sometimes I even forget to check his water dish. (Before you call the SPCA, I seldom am away for more than a couple of hours at a time, and always make sure he has water if I’m gone for longer…honest!)
Last night, this really seemed to touch people quite deeply so at the morning service and again at the evening service, we did it again, but since the congregation was adults, once we identified the ways we had not shown proper respect and gratitude towards the things we had chosen that we were grateful for, I invited them to try to think about why…what got in the way….what things were clamouring for their attention…and suggested that identifying these things might help us identify the places where we have failed to live into the fullness of the life that God has gifted us with.
For me, I realized how often I fail to live into the moment, how focused I am on “what’s next” and so for my Lenten Discipline I am going to practise the discipline of gratitude, resting and listening.
God grant us a holy Lent.