Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Archive for the tag “reading”

Oh my goodness, it’s time for Lent!!

Here it is Shrove Tuesday and that means, yep Lent is right around the corner! Last year I kept Lent fairly simple as I will still in recovery mode from cancer treatment. This year it seems a plan has developed by listening to the Spirit. Tools have appeared that I am hoping will be life giving and deepen my walk with Jesus through the 40 days that are coming.

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My guides for Lent

Here are my tools – Diana Butler Bass’ book Grounded, Richard Wagameese’s book Embers, and my drawing pad and water colour pencils. Each day through Lent I am going to pick up one of these. I will read and delve deeper into my spiritual life. I will pray and let the Spirit guide me as she does. I will draw and let my creativity flow in a different way than it usually does. Each day I will do one of these, I am not going to try to do all three on top of what I regularly do – that would be a bit much to say the least.

The dear one and I have a routine of saying Morning Prayer which I know will feed my thoughts and reflections during this time as well. We also reduce the amount of meat that we eat and of course there is extra stuff at church that we will be participating in. My hope, my prayer is that all of this together will lead to a holy Lent for me and for those around me.

I’d love to hear if you have any plans for Lent and what they are? Are you giving up something? Are you taking on something? Are you engaging with something new to see God’s presence in your life differently?

May you have a good and holy Lent. May you take the forty days as a way to renew your spiritual life. May you see Jesus walking with you each and every day.

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A Pleasing Odour to the Lord

Almost 2 months into reading the Bible as part of the Bible in a Year challenge that the diocese of Edmonton has taken on for its centennial year. The dear one and I have finished 4 books of the Hebrew Testament, a third of the psalms and are into our third gospel. We are sticking with it, which in and of itself is a good thing.

How many of you have ever read all of Leviticus and Numbers? Like really read them, not just gone looking for something in particular. There are a lot of formulas for worship, sacrifice, daily living, what can or can’t be eaten, cleanness and uncleanness and on and on and on.

The phrase that stuck out for me was ‘A pleasing odour for the Lord‘. It sounds really nice doesn’t it. Then I got thinking about all those animals being sacrificed and all the blood being spattered  on the altar and on the priests and all the incense and all the flour being burnt up and I wondered what it must have smelled like. Not all that pleasant is what I came up with.. So that was a pleasing odour to the Lord? How does that relate to how I live as a Christian today? I am not sure at this moment it does, except I now know more about sacrificial practice then I ever thought I would want to know.

Not quite what the writers of Leviticus and Numbers meant but this sure was a pleasing odour to me recently.

Not quite what the writers of Leviticus and Numbers meant but this sure was a pleasing odour to me recently.

I am going to take back what I just wrote, in fact I do think has something to do with how I live as a Christian. It has to do with ritual, worship, relationships with my fellow human beings and ultimately with my relationship with God.

When my son was a little boy he had the most amazing bedtime ritual. It was between him, Pirate Bear (his favourite teddy) and either his father or me. This is how it would go:

Me: Good night

Son: Good night

Me: Good night

Pirate Bear (with son’s voice): Good night

Me: Don’t let the bedbugs

Son: bite

Me: and if they do

Son: beat them

Me: till they’re

Son: black and blue. (followed by some serious giggling at this point)

Me: Mahoo  (which is what we said in our family when blowing a kiss at the other person)

Son: Mahoo

Me: Mahoo

Pirate Bear: Mahoo

You have to understand that we did this every night from the time he was 3 years old, when he invented the ritual, until he was 8 0r 9. It was such a serious ritual that if a word was missed or one of us tried to rush it, we had to start all over from the beginning. It was also such a serious ritual that we had to teach it to his babysitters. The only reason that we both didn’t have to do it every night was the other parent was doing a much simplified ritual with our daughters.

Ritual is important. It is important to children and it is important to adults. The dear one and I have a morning ritual with our coffee, I bring him his coffee, he smiles and we share a tender moment. The morning doesn’t feel right if we don’t do this ritual.

On Sundays we do ritual, which we call worship. We sing hymns, we pray together, we break bread and share wine, we listen to God’s word – all ritual and mostly done the same way each week. It is important . It is how we acknowledge God’s presence in the midst of us. It is how we remember the stories of Jesus. It is how we strengthen ourselves for the upcoming week. It is how we reconnect with others on their journey of faith. It is what the Israelites were doing when they made all those sacrifices to God – they were doing ritual. They were and we are making a pleasing odour to the Lord.

Bible in a Year

Yep, this is my Bible. As you can tell I have read it a lot and studied from it and worked from it. A treasured friend.

Yep, this is my Bible. As you can tell I have read it a lot and studied from it and worked from it. A treasured friend.

What would you do if the bishop of your new diocese challenged the whole diocese as part of its centennial celebrations to read the Bible in a year? I know there are many out there who would say that it can’t be done and really, why bother? I must admit that I was a bit skeptical myself. The Bible in a year – that is a lot of reading of scripture, some of it just doesn’t make sense and some of it I have just never bothered to read before. Who out there wants to read all of the Holiness Code in Leviticus and Numbers?

The dear one decided that his new parish, our new parish was going to take up the challenge. There about 8 of us who have signed up to read, that includes me, the scriptures over the next year. So from time to time I am going to use this space to write about what I have been reading, noticing and learning along the way.

To keep us both committed to this year long project the dear one and I are reading the day’s selection to each other over our breakfast. One of us does a chapter and then the other does the next until we are done for the day. Takes us about 15 minutes to do it this way. It also gives us the opportunity to share our thoughts, questions and even outrage along the way. It allows us to dig deeper as we do the readings.

The dear one is also hosting a session with those that are reading in the parish about every 2 or 3 weeks for about an hour or so. It gives a chance for folks to bring their questions, their learnings and their oh my goodness-es to a group of fellow Christians. I missed the first session as I was away but I am really looking forward to next week’s session.

We have read all of Genesis – oh those matriarchs and patriarchs! – and are now into Exodus – come on Pharaoh, let God’s people go! We also have a psalm to read and a chapter from the New Testament every day. We are almost through the Gospel of Matthew and I have to tell you reading whole chapters and not just the chunks we get on Sundays give some of Jesus’ stories a whole different perspective.

What I have learned so far:

  • God chooses the most unlikely, sinful, frail people to be the leaders of God’s people. Just like the rest of us who have accepted the grace of God to follow in the way of Jesus.
  • Our faith ancestors liked good stories with lots of drama in them – Jacob wrestling with the angel of God, all of those plagues God brought down on Egypt.
  • Jesus is really concerned about little ones and the first being last.
  • Reading with the dear one is challenging to my intellect, includes lots of laughter and I really can’t wait until the next day to read again with him.

What are you reading at the moment that is challenging your faith and your intellect? Have you ever taken up a challenge like this one? If so, how did it go for you?

Happy Anniversary ……to me

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It has been a year since I started this blog and this will be my 5oth post – not bad for the first year of writing so publicly and so personally. I want to thank all of you for hanging out here with me, reading the posts, for supporting me through prayer, conversation and affirmations – it has been an interesting year to say the least.

The joy out of this whole past year is that I survived, the dear one survived and in fact we are once again beginning to thrive. I feel in many ways that much of the past year was our time of wandering in the desert and feeling like we were in exile. I am thinking that I can say that our exile is over and that we have found a community that will be with us and that we will be with them. It is a great way to start the second year of my blogging career. I don’t know about you but I am looking forward to finding out what the next year has in store for me and for the dear one.

I am going to keep on writing and sharing with you all because you all deserve for having put up with me this last year. Let’s see what comes next!

 

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