Saturday, March 20, 2010
My Lenten "Satchel"
As I browsed through some of the wonderful posts at High Calling Blogs this afternoon, I came across such a stunning post that I just *have* to share it with you--especially as the topic of the post is near and dear to my own faith journey, not to mention my heart.
The Lenten Satchel by Gordon Atkinson.
As he laid out the things in his "Lenten Satchel," I realized the parallel to my own journey of faith and the value of "things" to focus my worship. So both above, where I have my Lenten prayer things laid out on our school table on a quiet Monday without kids at home (a rarity!), and below, where my little bedside prayer corner is displayed, are some beloved things that lead me into His Presence.
The Anglican Prayer Beads I purchased at Full Circle Beads, and they come with a little prayer pamphlet with prayers for many occasions as well as a guide on using the prayer beads (the white paper in upper right). My favorite pewter standing cross is also pictured, along with a candle in a green jar that reminds me of light and growth and beauty and other God-things.
I also have my prayer list included above, along with my ESV Bible in its new cover, gift of a dear friend for proofreading her Master's thesis of incredible poetry (I should be giving her a gift for the privilege of reading it!), my 1928 Book of Common Prayer, and the spring volume of Phyllis Tickle's Divine Hours series.
My icons are a favorite aid to worship: the top one I bought at the county fair several years ago; the bottom one I purchased from Eighth Day Books when they displayed their wares at an arts retreat I attended in 2006.
The frames to the right of the icons are precious, too. The top one is a copy of Dickinson's poem "Hope is the Thing with Feathers" copied and illustrated by my daughter and given to me as a gift. The bottom one is a copy of an Old Master painting that I don't remember now and am too rushed (and lazy) to research. On the table are my stack of Bibles and prayer books, and a standing golden cross that one of my boys gave me for Christmas from the dollar store. My beads are usually hung on the bed poster, but here they are on top of a collection of daily prayers from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer which I have since given to my friends Rollo and Sarah Casiple as they minister in Miami.
Along with these items, I use a bottle of sepia ink and a rosewood dip pen to write in my journals--my daily journal, my spiritual journal, and my poetry journal. On past contemplative retreats I have taken charcoals and/or pastels for sketching on watercolor paper, and sometimes drawing or colored pencils; watercolors are a possibility, but I'm just not sufficiently artistic to create anything worthwhile. Although my artistic talents are minimal at best, drawing items in nature--flowers, leaves, stones, grasses, trees--relaxes me, opens my mind and heart, and brings me into the Presence of my God.
And that's the purpose for all of these things: to provide time and space for reflection, for contemplation, for unimpeded thought and prayer. And the needs for such reflection far supercedes the Lenten season but is also at the very heart of this time in the Christian Year.
Wishing you all a blessed, creative, meaningful, deeps-of-deep-places Lent,