Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Season of Light

Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of the season of Lent, the forty days of penitence, and preparation preceding Easter. Commemorating the 40 days Jesus spent in the Wilderness enduring temptation, it is a season of renewal, re-commitment and service to others. For some, it is like a forty day New Year's resolution and the diet is trotted out or a particular vice is railed against again (For many years Lent was a such a time for me...)
Lent in not one of your bigger Unitarian Universalist seasons...I must admit, however, to "loving" Lent-often painfully and usually with regret. Yet the promise of renewal and the strengthening of "the better angels of our nature" calls me each year.

And for the past four years or so, my devotional companion on the Lenten path has been a wonderful book called Leaflets For Lent, compiled by Laura Tilden from the writings, sermons etc...of William Phillips Tilden who, regular readers will know, is a particular teacher of mine.

During this season of Lent, I invite everyone to walk the path with Brother Tilden. I will excerpt the daily selection and (amazingly) the full text of the book can be found at http://books.google.com/books?id=HlAVAAAAYAAJ&printsec=titlepage&dq=william+phillips+tilden&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 (Google Books)

Selections from the Leaflets in preparation for Lent:

"Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways; they take delight in approaching to God." Isaiah Iviii.

"Do we take delight in approaching to God ? Are we not too much absorbed in things that perish in the using ? Have we not some weak points that need strengthening ? Some vulnerable places in the wall of character, where the tempter has made a breach before, and will again, if we are not on our guard ? Do we all live as we believe ? I know one who does not, and who would keep Lent with you, in the hope that it may help him in coming a little nearer to living as he believes, all the year round. So this Lent shall be to us, not a season of darkness but of Light, of getting and giving Light; and instead of sackcloth and ashes, let us put on the Garments of Praise.
"Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward."

SUPPOSE WE SAY TO OURSELVES: NOT A DAY OF LENT SHALL PASS IN WHICH WE DO NOT READ SOME WORD OF JESUS, SOME PRECEPT, SOME ACT OF MERCY AND OF LOVE; THAT SO WE MAY TOUCH THE HEM OF HIS GARMENT AND BE "HEALED IMMEDIATELY." (caps in the original)

"Rise; He calleth thee."

Blessings






3 comments:

PeaceBang said...

thank you, thank you!

Tracie "Red" Holladay said...

A very interesting approach!

I do plan to do the traditional ashes thing at an Episcopal church anyway. I am a liturgy junkie.

boston unitarian said...

Thank you, Peacebang! And hello "Red." As an ex Episcopalian, I am a bit of a liturgy junkie myself. I wish you a meaningful experience tomorrow and throughout this season of Lent.
Blessings to both. BU