Sunday Reflections -Lent 1

Oh my goodness, WHAT a cold morning!!! -27C with wind chill of -40C when Wil and I headed out on our early walk. BRRRRRR! It was with a truly thankful heart that I jumped into Nick’s nice warm car to ride to church.
       Today was a “marathon” Sunday in that after our All Ages Gathering and after lunch we all stayed on for more than 2 ½ hours for the Annual Vestry Meeting. Whew. With it being the first Sunday in Lent, needless to say our Gathering was based around this new Liturgical Season. The title was “Fire and Water” and we explored the Lenten Disciplines of Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving.
 Norman had agreed to lead the Gathering with Liz leading Worship Music. She chose a selection of water-themed songs – “As the Deer Pants”, “Come Thou Fount”, “All Who are Thirsty” & “My God My Portion”. After our opening song Norman gave a short overview of Lent, which included a couple of funny anecdotes on ways people misuse the idea of fasting when “giving up something for Lent”. Then he interviewed St. Matthew (one of Nick’s fabulous Muppet-style puppets) assisted by Nick. Although we were a smaller than usual group due to the bitter cold, and with only one small child amongst us, everyone enjoyed the 3-way interview as St. Matthew concluded that Christ’s forty day Temptation in the Wilderness” is  the root of our Lenten observances.
    We watched a short video about the Temptation and then trooped into the kitchen to prepare ashes for Imposition. It was very encouraging that people really stepped forward and participated, chopping up the dried palms, tending the flaming wok, and pressing down the burnt pieces to create the powdered ash.
Right there in the kitchen we stood in a circle as Nick slowly walked from person to person repeating the age-old phrase “dust you are and to dust you shall return”, making the sign of the cross on our foreheads. Suddenly Holiness poured down in that unlikely setting and the presence of God was palpable for a fleeting moment. It was awesome. And then normality took over again as we chatted amongst ourselves and moved back into the worship area for a time of prayer, led by Liz. Little Olivia helped to hand out coloured pencils and droplet-shaped papers for us to write out our commitments to “feasting and fasting”. Liz had prepared a series of prayers for us to share in and to serve as a starting point for these written thoughts. After the papers were gathered up we were invited to each take one home with us and to pray, during Lent for the person who had written it. And then it was time for the final song and a transition into lunch followed by a VERY long, but worthwhile Vestry meeting!
        We spent much time dealing with our somewhat serious financial situation, digressed to details about sponsorship of a Syrian Refugee family, passed a motion to form a committee tasked to build a future plan for St. Stephen’s and staggered out somewhat stupefied after sitting for that long on hard wooden chairs!
      Wil was extraordinarily pleased to see me at 3pm when the Tappendens who had very kindly driven me home dropped me at the door. And then it was out into the cold again for another 30-minute walk with a happy Labrador. It is almost time, already, to think about preparing dinner. WHOOSH- Sunday come and gone.
       But good stuff happened and, hopefully, God was pleased with what our little community accomplished for His kingdom today 😊

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