The challenge of patience

386718_10151176596392623_1993935500_nAs we prepare for Ash Wednesday and our Lenten disciplines this week, I would like to request a moment of personal privilege in the blogosphere.

Thank you for indulging me.

Quick catch-up for those of you who are not aware: I separated the AC joint in my right shoulder on December 30 when I took a little spill (ummm – shoulder-plant) while skiing with my sons and goddaughter during the holidays. This led to surgery to repair the joint on January 23 triggering a two week medical leave from work. Today I am back in the saddle, with restrictions. I am not very good at restrictions.

Fortunately, I have many helpers.

On the mission and  ministry front I need to specifically thank Valerie Harris, Associate for our Formation and Vocation Ministries Team, who has been coordinating the roll-out on the EYE 2014 Mission Planning Team application process with the able assistance of members of the Council for Youth Ministry, especially Shannon Kelly, Earl Gibson, and Cookie Cantwell. And our Media Consultant, Wendy Johnson, has been doing a fantastic job of keeping social media up to date in my absence.

WE STILL NEED YOUTH APPLICANTS FOR EYE 2014 MISSION PLANNING TEAM, especially from the European, Midwestern, Southwestern, Northwestern, Pacific Coast, Caribbean and South American regions!

The application deadline for the EYE 2014 Mission Planning Team is the end of this week!!!

But I digress.

On the post-surgery home front, I am blessed with good health insurance, excellent surgeons and medical staff treating me, a compassionate and indulgent circle of family and friends helping me, an understanding workplace with incredible staff backing me up, and a cloud of faithful witnesses praying me back to health and wholeness. I enter this Lenten season very much aware of the abundance with which I am blessed, and determined to learn to be a better patient and to simply be patient.

I will be engaging three specific disciplines this Lenten season; daily physical therapy, daily scripture reading, and slowing down. That last is the most difficult for me. I am good at balance in terms of work vs. play, but I am pretty much all go when I am awake and there are things to do. I’ve never been much of a couch potato.

Yet  my shoulder needs time and rest to grow new ligament attachments. There’s no hurrying this process into a faster recovery. To avoid complications and in the hopes of full recovery, I must be disciplined in following the doctor’s orders.

My prayer for you is that you might also be able to reflect upon the abundance in your life and determine a place where you need to be more disciplined. I pray that you can embrace your new discipline with determination, faith, and a measure of joy in the trying. Below I have offered two links in case you need a nudge or some humor during this Lent.

I will be reading the relatively new Common English Bible that was approved for official use at General Convention. In one of the bound versions there are tables in the back for strategic scripture reading. Having already tackled and accomplished the “One Month Sweep Bible Reading Plan” over Advent, I am taking up the “New Testament in 90 Days Reading Plan.” That should be sufficient for the 40 days of Lent and the 50 days of Easter.

I love the language of this version of the Bible. It isn’t too different from the NRSV, but it’s much easier for reading aloud, and to understand the grammar of Paul’s letters.

And for comic relief while learning, I look forward to a full season of Lent Madness. It will be two brackets of saints and martyrs competing for the Golden Halo. The blogs are always informative and the votes are interesting. Tune in on “Ash Thursday” so you don’t miss the early bracket voting!

May your Lent be Holy as we journey together to the cross to meet Jesus.

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Lenten Resources for Youth Ministries

Lent

I’ve just finished putting away my Christmas decorations so it’s difficult to believe that Lent is right around the corner.

I receive emails from most major publishers with lists of Lenten activities and program ideas. Here are a few I’ve culled out to highlight:

From Episcopal Relief & Development:

  • Lenten Meditation guide (in English and Spanish) helps us focus on alleviating hunger worldwide while preparing ourselves for spiritual healing. The daily readings are co-authored by a group of leaders from across the Episcopal Church, who bring a range of perspectives as they reflect on Scripture and other sources of spiritual wisdom.

From Church Pubishling:

  • 2013 Lenten Journey poster is a journey of simple devotions and thoughtful meditations leading through the 40 days from Ash Wednesday through Easter week. This poster comes in packs of 25 for distribution within faith communities.
  • View Church Publishing’s entire Lenten catalog.
  • Download a pdf document filled with Lenten resources, activities and explanations about the season of Lent.

From Candle Press:

  • Lent Table Cards invite families to find a little space in which to be together, notice what is already working for them, and choose to be intentional about who they are being called to be as individuals and as members of the family.

From Leader Resources:

  • Six Smooth Stones introduces you to five spiritual practices that can be used for Lent or any time of the year: Spiritual Reading, Prayer of Attentiveness (Contemplation), Fasting, Works of Kindness (mercy) and Worship in Community and includes an introduction to the Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil).
  • Stumbling Into the Sacred offers short meditations about the day-to-day business of living and invites us to take time to discover the holiness of each moment we’re given.  Perfect for group settings as well as personal use by families or individuals.
  • Know Chocolate for Lent offers a thematic approach for communicating the message of Lent and Easter to children, youth and adults.

In addition, D365 will switch to Journey to the Cross beginning Ash Wednesday and running through the Saturday after Easter.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Please share your resources and ideas in the comments. I’d love to hear about them.

Episcopal Relief and Development Lenten Devotional Focuses on Hunger, Healing

Episcopal Relief & DevelopmentEpiscopal Relief & Development’s tenth annual Lenten Meditations booklets are now available in English and Spanish.  PDF booklets and other Lenten resources can be found on Episcopal Relief & Development’s website at www.er-d.org/Lent, and daily email devotionals can be received by signing up online.

The Lenten Meditations can be ordered from Episcopal Marketplace online or over the phone by calling 866.937.2772.  Hope chests, prayer cards, bookmarks and offering envelopes are also available and can be used in accompaniment with the devotional booklets.  Churches and individuals are encouraged to place their orders by Friday, February 1, to ensure that the materials will arrive by Ash Wednesday, February 13.

Congregations are also invited to commemorate Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday on the first Sunday in Lent, February 17, or another convenient Sunday during the season.  On this special Sunday, congregations pray for those living in poverty and dedicate an offering in support of the Episcopal Relief & Development’s Global Needs Fund, which helps where most needed.

Resources and guidelines for Episcopal Relief & Development Sunday and the whole Lenten season are available at www.er-d.org/Lent.  Please contact churchengagement@er-d.org or call 1.855.312.HEAL (4325) with any questions.