February 6th, 2008

sin happens

Good morning. Have you repented today?

Well, it's Ash Wednesday. Time to burn last year's palms for tonight's service. It's a wet, drizzly day, but I'm hoping for a dry span to do a little burning, since burning them inside the garage is not a good thing. In case you've never done it before, lemme tell you: burning palm leaves smell really strong, and the smell lingers.

I got asked yesterday if Lent was Latin or Greek or Hebrew or what. I replied it was Middle English. It's related to our modern word "lengthen." All the name implies is that the days are getting longer. One of the interesting things about the conversion of the ancient English is how deeply Christianity penetrated the culture. Christmastide, Whitsunday, Lent, even Easter are all derived from English; they sit side by side in our consciousness with Epiphany and Pentecost.

In other news, I decided to give up giving things up for Lent.
sin happens

'S all good

Ash Wednesday service tonight went well. I do basically the same service every year. There's no preaching, but there's good, solid Scripture. Old-fashioned hymns, mostly. Imposition of ashes. The old, old communion liturgy -- what Methodists call the "back of the book" service. Very traditional. Just let the words and the ashes and the bread and wine do the talking. It's a solemn service, but not a gloomy one.

I was hustling today. I was at the hospital last night for a parishioner's emergency, and wound up visiting with two of our Scouts, who also had family things going on in the ER. (Had I known, there was another parishioner in the ER I missed, but I'll catch up with him tomorrow.) Anyway, I thought things were going to be a little less hectic today, but the lady I went in to see last night was having exploratory surgery today, so as soon as my after-lunch Bible study was over, I hied myself down to the hospital and sat through some of that. It was 4:00 when I finally left the hospital, and the palm fronds weren't even burnt yet.

But I told myself, it's okay. It's all God's timing. If I had been wasting time on frivolous pursuits, I'd've been kicking myself for being behind. As it was, God had put me where I most needed to be, so I just trusted him to give me what I needed to do the rest of the day's/evening's work. I was hurrying to get everything ready for tonight, and of course everything went fine. All I had to do was be there to lead the people through words I have said hundreds of times. I even had plenty of time to rest and collect myself.

'S all good.