Lent 24: Beyond the playground

8 03 2013

Repentance is a big Lenten theme. To repent is to change one’s ways, to turn away from one’s current way of doing something, and to do something different.  Lent 24: repentance... and meaning it

How do we get beyond talking about repentance as a good idea, as something we should do… to actually repenting? How do we allow God to change our hearts and actions and words and thoughts, so they reflect God more? Too often I think we approach repentance like the playground truck pictured here. It’s fun, and useful to play on, to talk on, to connect with others around… but it’s not actually that useful for anything besides play on this particular playground. There’s nothing wrong with this truck on a playground. I like it. But when it comes to following God, we need to take ourselves out of the conversational mode, and into the action mode.

What would it look like if we were to actually make some changes that we felt God wants us to make? What would those changes be? And what needs to happen, for us to take these changes beyond the playground (as good as the playground is) and into our lives?





Christmas Trappings

2 12 2010

This Sunday I’m preaching on a John the Baptist text: Matthew 3:1-12. John the Baptist is one of those people from the Bible who I love to read about—but he makes me uncomfortable enough that I’m glad he’s not preaching here in Harleysville! He shows up in Judea, looking and probably smelling rather weird, and preaching, “Repent!”… and “Produce fruit worthy of repentance!” Yeah, not a message we like to hear.

Scott Hoezee, (from the Center for Excellence in Preaching), observes, that if John the Baptist were here today, he might be calling on Christians to repent about the way we actually celebrate Advent and Christmas. Touché.

Christmas Trappings... waiting to be unpacked

The way I celebrate Advent and Christmas reflects an honest struggle. I want to celebrate Christ’s birth, anticipate his coming, and live into the reality of being a person of hope in a world overcome with problems. Yet I also love the Christmas trappings. I’m not sure I love the word “trappings”, but I understand it, and give in to it. Christmas trappings, for me, includes the decorations, some shopping, lights…lights…lights, Christmas baking, music… yes, I even like the guy from the North Pole. No, I don’t believe in him. Yes, I like him. Mostly.

It’s not that I think we Christians shouldn’t have fun, or enjoy the season. But despite my good intentions, I end up focusing more on the secular nature of Christmas than I want to. Or than I want to want to. And it’s not even that I have no religious decorations, nativities, candles, spiritual ornaments… I do. And I love them, and love to look at them throughout the season. But I still struggle.

“Repent!” John preached.

Ok.. I’ll repent. Then what? Then what do I do with this tension? I have lots of answers… and I also have Christmas decorations that I’m going to unpack. But the reality is, I’m so thankful that John the Baptist doesn’t live in Harleysville. Because he makes me a bit too uncomfortable.

And maybe he should.





what if?

8 03 2010

This is Saturday’s photo… I’m so behind. (I’ve been taking pictures, I just didn’t have the chance to write.) The rocks were to be used (and were used) in Sunday morning worship, as symbols of what we need to repent of…

Saturday, March 6th

and the idea was that we would have people bring them up front during a Confession of Sin, and lay them at the foot of the cross.

The Worship Planning Team at church (which I am part of) has thought up several different ideas for making Lent more creative,

reaching different senses, etc.. and the rocks were the creative element for yesterday. Great idea. And last Sunday after church, one of the WPT members bought the rocks and dropped them off. But on Saturday I panicked. The “what ifs” began… I forgot to get kids lined up to hand rocks out..oops. What if none of the kids wanted to help out when I asked them at the last minute on Sunday morning? What if we didn’t clean the rocks well enough, someone got rock dust on their hands and complained–would that kill creativity forever?… what if nobody brought their rocks forward?…what if people thought this was just too touchy-feeley?  what if? what if? what it?

Occasionally these “what if?” moments get the best of me, and I give up. Occasionally they get the best of me and I keep going. Occasionally I’m not really sure what happens… because things work out well in spite of me, in spite of circumstances, and in spite of panicky moments.

Then there are those times when I should have answered the “what if?” moments with a “yep… I should stop right now.”  But we’ll save that for another blog post. Maybe.





repentance

5 03 2010

I did take this photo yesterday! But as I was writing this blog, I literally fell asleep. So here’s what I was writing.

Thurs., March 4th

What’s the connection between garbanzo beans and a clock? Easy: time. I don’t have enough of it–none of us do. At least that’s what we often say. Yet, repentance calls for a complete turning around. Not just blogging about it, talking about it, reading about it, and praying about it. Doing it. Repenting.. Turning around. It’s an action–ongoing, because our sin is ongoing.

I’d rather blog, talk, read, and pray about it. Because for me, part of my repentance this Lent needs to involve changing my sleeping (or non-sleeping) habits. I’d rather go to bed late than early. Which then affects my days and my nights and my family and my health (fatigue and fibromyalgia) and what I can and can’t do the next day. Like, eat healthier. It sounds dumb, but hear me out–when I’m more fatigued, I have less energy to intentionally eat healthy.

This is where the garbanzo beans come in. I could, technically, make hummus. It’s a fairly healthy Middle Eastern dip that could give more energy. Lasting energy. The hard part is, I’ve let myself get stuck in this vicious cycle of being too tired… going to bed too late… eating unhealthy foods… and not having the energy to jump out of the cycle and change my patterns. To turn around, repent..

So, here I go.. thinking about, blogging about, probably looking up a recipe about garbanzo beans/hummus.  Let’s hope I make the time to reTHINK my time and patterns by repenting, and reADJUSTING what I do.