Yesterday, when B was well, the two of us attended the Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity before we went on to Lake Murray as usual. It's rare that I can attend a Sunday service with the Alpine congregation. But with Father Acker too ill to hold one Friday, I was feeling liturgy-deprived already. He was definitely feeling better, and together we bade goodbye to the "alleluias" for Lent. Father spoke a great deal about Lent, and the bulletin had a lovely checklist of ideas for a Lenten Rule of Life. As he told us, a Rule is not saying that we are downgrading our relationship to God to a bunch of rules, but that we are willing to do something extra to build our relationship to God during these forty days. There is no punishment for breaking the Rule except for our losing the opportunity to draw closer to God. Listed on the Rule sheet were ideas on self-examination/repentance, prayer, fasting/self-denial, almsgiving, and reading/studying God's Word. I am going to pray over this Rule today and tomorrow and see what God will have me do to grow closer to Him during this time of Lent.
This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. I'm hoping to be able to attend the 6:30 PM service at Victoria Chapel with Father Acker of Alpine Anglican. I love the symbolism of the ashes: death to old self, mortal death to come but eternal life in Jesus to enjoy forever! The ashes also symbolize repentance; in the Old Testament, those who were mourning and repenting of their actions (think Job, David, etc.) covered themselves with ashes as a sign of their change of heart. With the ashes in the form of the cross, we are reminded that we are marked as Christ's own forever, in this life and in the next.
I had forgotten to ask Pastor Stephen to reprint the excellent Ash Wednesday/Lenten guide we had put in the bulletin as a flyer last year. Perhaps Veneta can dig it out and we can send it out to Lake Murray via e-mail today or tomorrow.
This week, barring becoming ill with what all four kids have right now, I also will attend the Writers' Symposium by the Sea at Point Loma Nazarene University. Judith, Kitty, and I have signed up for Wednesday's interview with Anne Lamott, author of Traveling Mercies and Plan B among other works, and Friday's with Eugene Peterson, who translated The Message. On Wednesday, we're hoping to go to the college early so we can catch Lamott speaking in chapel. Then we want to go to lunch at a lovely cafe on Rosecrans before coming back for Lamott's interview (probably with Dean Nelson, my creative writing prof) at 2:00 PM. I'm looking forward to these talks as an excellent way to begin this Lenten time of especial concentration on God.