Lent Banner at Earlston Church

It feels like such an age since I read through the blogs for Friday Festival – truth is – IT IS AGES!!! Mostly because I swapped January and forgot; and then February came and I missed that one too. In spite of diary and planner and phone reminders… those of you who receive the RevGalBlogPals weekly devotional will by now know that I make a lot of lists… and sometimes even they don’t actually help.

Never fear – Lent is here – and I have spent some very happy hours, reading blogs for you all… Lent features very heavily in this week’s feed… it seems many of us have committed to daily or weekly discipline by blogging words and pictures, prayers and reflections (including yours truly TBH). Today I have more time because I’m in a different time zone. Away from home, staying with my middle son and his beloved, on Bowen Island, which, for those of you who did not know, is in BC, found just off the coast of North Vancouver. I’m here for just four days before I travel to Seattle for NEXT Church Gathering. this wee hiatus has given me precious time to catch up on some frankly fabulous writing!

My first offering for you is not actually one of the RGBP Blogs – and I hope I am forgiven, but as of Thursday Lent Madness began again, if this is new to you be prepared… it IS a little mad. every day through Lent two Saints will be set against each other, votes are taken and the winner gets through to the next round, until finally at Easter one remains. This year’s contest kicked off with the impossible task of Mary vs. Martha.

As you may imagine, this week has many, many blogs on Lent and Ashes.

let us begin with the WHY: April Fiet is often featured by me and others, here, she explains, for those of us who are too shy to say we’re not entirely sure, Why Do We Observe Lent? Julia S is our President, and she writes about Lenten Discipline, tying it, not to one denial or deprivation but to our Baptismal promises, and how we may prepare for Lent and ultimately Easter, her post Getting Ready is beautifully put, and encourages us “prayerfully consider your disciplines. Ask God to guide you into good work that will deepen your understanding of baptism, your awareness of the Spirit, and your trust in God’s presence. Be prepared to be changed“.

Kathy writes about Tending to Yourself during Lent and at all times; living with debilitating illness, ageing, and the rush of busy we all encounter can cause us to resist self care; Kathy describes her journey through essential care, and encourages us to consider walking, creating or using a Labyrinth or Finger Labyrinth. Two more specifically Lent/ Ash Wednesday posts struck me: Liz observed the imposition of ashes in Scotland, and writes in her wonderful lyrical prose about the experience of Ashes to Go. While Joanne offers a generous weekly resource of prayer and liturgy with Lenten Daily Prayers for each week of Lent – you may wish to subscribe to her feed!

Finally, I give thanks for Air Traffic controllers who as part of an unseen team keep our planes flying and our loved ones safe, Michelle is writing prayers for different professions, and Wednesday was Air Traffic Controllers, for whom I was very glad as I flew from East to West across the Atlantic and North America that very day.

There is much to savour on our blog roll at all times, but in this season of Lent there are some thoughtful, reflective words for us to pray by as we prepare the way.

Julie Rennick is a Church of Scotland Minister, serving a rural parish in the Scottish Borders. Currently taking study leave she is in Vancouver BC, shortly to be followed by Seattle WA and Boise Idaho.

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