Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lenten Links!

Here are a few links from things I've been reading or listening to over the first week of Lent:

-- Sing the Psalms! They're in an order appropriate for the church season, and each day there's at least one suggested tune. Most of the pieces of music are common settings for hymns, which is helpful. (Today's is to Beach Spring!)

-- Taylor Burton-Edwards, the Director of Worship Resources at the General Board of Discipleship, wrote about not doing Ashes at Home when there were winter storms last Wednesday, leading many churches to cancel Ash Wednesday services. His point is that our repentance is not just personal but corporate and that we gather for penitence.
Drew McIntyre agreed, and he addressed some of the more common reasons given for doing something like Ashes at Home.

-- April Fiet wrote about "Remember that thou art dust," and it's beautiful:
"Ash Wednesday’s earthiness is no accident. It draws us back to the creation of the world and of humanity. It grips us as we recall our own mortality. And it invites us to enter into the places in our lives where we need to get our hands dirty."
"We are following in the footsteps of one who got his hands dirty, who reached out and touched those who needed it most, ate with those deemed unworthy by society, and had no place to lay his head.
Lent is an imperative to go and do likewise."
-- A playlist of St. Louis Jesuits' music. The post is Lent related. The music isn't directly related, but it's all very Lent-appropriate.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ashes to Ashes

I love "Sunday's Palms are Wednesday's Ashes" by Rae E. Whitney for a lot of reasons. It happens to be set to my favorite tune, but more than that, it perfectly expresses Ash Wednesday and, in many ways, Lent as a whole. It mirrors confessional prayers from Eucharist liturgies, but despite focusing on our failings, it always turns to forgiveness and hope.

Sunday's palms are Wednesday's ashes
As another Lent begins;
Thus we kneel before our Maker
In contrition for our sins.
We have marred baptismal pledges,
In rebellion, gone astray;
Now, returning, seek forgiveness;
Grant us pardon, Lord, this day!

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

We wave the fronds high and shout for joy. We sing loud hosannas and praise the King. If we did not cry out, the stones would do so in our place.

But Sunday's palms are Wednesday's ashes. The week that begins in a triumphal entry ends in darkness, a darkness that would become light, but a necessary darkness all the same.