Wednesday, March 9, 2011

8 and 8...

Lent is upon us and, as always, I have spent far too much time thinking about what my Lenten discipline might be and casting about for a reading project as well. Lent has long been a very important season for me but upon becoming a Unitarian some years ago, it became clear that this feeling was not exactly widespread. I was, therefore, all the more happy to find, about seven years ago, "Leaflets for Lent" by William Phillips Tilden. Tilden grew up in the church I am proud to serve, was its first Sunday School Superintendent, and studied with its minister Samuel J. May before beginning a long and fruitful ministry of his own.
His "Leaflets" have been my Lenten Devotional ever since and during my first year blogging I reproduced it in its enitretly over the 40 days of the season. You can start here if you would like a fine companion this Lent.
Then yesterday, a wonderful parishioner at our Church gave me a framed Roman Numeral VIII in crusted gold leaf that was taken from our 1830 Clock Tower last summer during our renovations. It is a powerful link with the past and a symbol of the flexibility of time. And it gave me an idea for this Lenten season.
I have been thinking much recently about Prayer in our Unitarian Universalist past and present, especially intercessory prayer. And while I pray regularly for family, friends and church members, during this Lenten season I want to deepen that practice. My plan is to spend time in prayer for others (by name) at 8am and 8pm (my clock tower number.)
I write to invite anyone who may wish to join me and, of course, if you would like prayer for yourself or someone you know, send along a first name. And, as always, if you toss out a prayer or two for me, it is always appreciated.

Have a blessed Lent

3 comments:

Tracie H said...

I seem to be having some difficulty feeling penitent this year. Something about the spring, which comes to us here in FL much earlier than it does in Boston, has got into my blood and I want to celebrate Mardi Gras from now until midsummer! Not sure how to work such exuberance into Lent.

David G. Markham said...

Tracie:

God loves a joyful heart and excuberance is a form of prayer, perhaps the best kind.

The penitential aspect is to strip the joyful exuberance of egoistic, vain, narcissistic elements. Do you need to be the center of attention or can you share your joy and be joyful with others?

When you sing, do you have drown others out or can you harmonize at appropriate volumes to make beautiful music?

Please don't give up your exuberance for Lent but rather share it in altruistic ways for the benefit of all.

It is purity we are after and liberation, not demands for attention.

BU you will be in my prayers at the 8s. Please pray for our emerging congregation the Brockport Unitarian Universalist Fellowship that it may grow and be a source of light to our congregants and our community.

I have never been big on intercessory prayer myself. I am more into prayers of gratitude, appreciation, and awe. However, if we can't imagine the better life we want for ourselves and others, we will never create it.

As a former Roman Catholic it was a common practice to pray to the Saints to intercede for us with the Almighty. It great to be acble to recruit and invite people you admire into your cause.

Your blog is a great prayer of intercession for me as I learn about the holy and wise forebearers of our faith. Tilden, Channing, and so many of the others which you share with us are great lights upon which my faith is strengthened and grows. They are our intercessories and you make them come alive on a regular basis.

Many thanks,

David Markham

Tracie H said...

RE: "Do you need to be the center of attention or can you share your joy and be joyful with others?"

Oh I don't have a problem sharing this joy. I thought I had to give up joy itself but apparently I was quite incorrect, and happily so!

I grew up United Methodist and we didn't really observe Lent so I think I have some...odd ideas about what one is supposed to do during this season.