Wednesday, March 5, 2014

the purple

Image credit: Michelle Quigley

I love the way that Christianity's liturgical calendar divides the year into seasons that commemorate the events of the gospel. In Roman Catholic and many mainline protestant churches, vestments and altar clothes are coordinated with the colors of the season, and these colors become a visual reminder of where we are in the annual cycle. The persistence of white in our worship spaces after Christmas and Easter have passed on the secular calendar is a powerful call to inhabit the season even while the commercial world places gifts and candy on deep discount to make room for the next holiday.

The white times are our holiest times, our feasts of celebration for the miracles that frame the Christian faith. I love the white times for the family gatherings and the food. But my heart is in the purple. The purple is contemplation. Purple is fasting. Purple is renewed commitment.

Purple is not easy.  Embracing purple time often means making sacrifices and asking oneself hard questions. Purple challenges the people who dwell there.

Today we enter the purple, and I woke up this morning not knowing what my Lenten commitment would be. Most years, I look at my life and try to rebalance what is off kilter. Sometimes this has meant giving up a food (ahem, chocolate) or making a commitment to patience. Usually I hear the call loudly. In the last seven months, my world has been so off kilter that rebalancing has been an ongoing task.

I the absence of a loud call, I commit to listening better in meditation and prayer each day.

"Earth to earth; ashes to ashes; dust to dust: in certain hope of the resurrection unto eternal life." -The Book of Common Prayer

Here are some of the things I'll be reading:
A meditation on Lent and spring.
Daily posts on Observing Lent with a Servant's Heart.
Daily posts from Goshen College.
Sunday sermons on Lent and Easter with Game of Thrones, hyperlinks will appear as the sermons are posted.

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