wow, i did not mean to be away from the blog so long.
so—while i was gone--we had advent and then christmas, which i’ll tell you about sometime. then we had new year’s day and a road trip to visit family in january, which i’ll tell you about sometime. then we had groundhog day and st. valentine’s day, which i’ll tell you about sometime. that brings us up to lent.
because of various conflicts, we are not currently members of any parish or faith community. thus, we do our liturgical observances at home. for ash wednesday, ella and i had a small, private distribution of ashes in our dining room, to which we invited friends on short notice (as usual).
table prepared with service handouts for participants, a new candle, the cast iron skillet (for burning) with the palm leaf and the lighter, and sheets of paper for participants to write down the spiritual burdens they wished to offer up during lent. i realized too late that i don’t have any lenten table linens—i've just never had a need, i guess—so we used the only purple table runnerish thing we have, which is a yoga mat. :)
the service i used was one i found at a site called ashes to go. had i found it a week or so sooner, i’d have actually taken the ash service to the street as they do. but i didn’t find them in time to plan anything meaningful for this year, so i’m putting it in the file for next lent.
at the beginning of the service we cut the palm into pieces (everybody got to cut a piece to add to the pile), i lit the pieces and then we added our sheets of burdens to the flames. i had intended to do this outside but it was very windy and that didn’t seem safe, so we did it on the table inside (that’s why there are hot mats under the pan), and i had a pot lid on hand to cover it with if it got out of hand.
pieces of palm--it smelled wonderfully church-like as it burned.
ella writing the spiritual burdens she wanted to offer to god during lent.
ella included her dollies, who she is instructing in the faith.
zoe and wren in the back, dora in the front getting her ashes.
following the service we had a home retreat consisting of a lenten lunch (cranberry beans and rice), reading of the story of jesus in the wilderness from several different bibles, and a viewing of the first episode of bill moyers' “genesis: a living conversation” on netflix streaming.
we closed the retreat with a reflection on the ways in which we hope to respond to lent spiritually, physically, and communally, and committed those reflections to paper so we could encourage each other along the way.
*originally i had planned to use a child-friendly ash wednesday service i found at fresh worship, but decided to go simple, simple this year, since it was my first go at it. i’m glad i did—the service we used was plenty, and it was just right for us.