Zion Calendar

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

General Secretary's Weekly Letter

March 4, 2014

Dear Friends,

I’m looking forward to a supper of pancakes drizzled (or drenched!) with syrup along with a sausage or two to balance all that sweetness. This meal, eaten in a busy church, is one I have enjoyed pretty well every year of my life. I probably have missed a year or two along the way, but can’t quite recall when.

This tradition marks the beginning of Lent. It is good to have this modest time of celebration before beginning the time of deprivation or at least spiritual reflection that helps us prepare for the grief of Good Friday followed by the joy of Easter.

For all those involved with congregational pancake suppers, you might find it fun to take part in the first-ever United Church Pancake Supper Census (Clearly we don’t collect enough statistics already, but this sounds like fun!)

The United Church website connects us to a wealth of resources we can use during Lent. Lent happens every year, but every year we seem to want—and come up with—new ways to explore it.

For those who enjoy trying new ways to engage, our Moderator Gary Paterson has developed Turn Around and Take Off, an online Lenten study. I know he worked away at that during some of his time “off” after New Year’s, and I’m excited to see it unfold.

I understand one of the participants in the online study will be Debbie McMillan, who wrote Confronted by Jesus, the United Church’s study book for this Lenten season. I have already started looking at that book and plan to use it through these coming weeks, even taking it with me for reflection on our spring break vacation.

I go back and forth about whether to mark Lent by giving something up or simply committing to a pattern of daily reflection. I noticed in the new Observer a reference to Lee Simpson’s blog about her year of buying nothing, and I went to the site and read some of her commentary about making this commitment and living it out. I have to admit that I am not quite up to the commitment that Lee has made, but she has inspired me to think that for Lent this year, I would like to try a more limited version, by refraining from buying anything for myself except for food and basic toiletries. As the parent of a teenager, I think it might be unfair to him to make a blanket commitment to not buy anything at all for the next 40 days, but even this lesser “sacrifice” will make me think. I do love acquiring, either new or second-hand, all kinds of nice things for the home, but perhaps this time of Lent will help me realize how many things I don’t really need.

May you find challenge, peace, and meaning in your own journey through Lent.