welcome to the hike!

Working out the call!

I currently living in Millersburg or as God whispered in me ear four years ago in PA, "the land of my Fathers!" MILLERS - burg! OK! The best way to describe my life of late, is simply "Pastor-at-Large" I live "outside the box" of our usual expectation of life, family, employment and even culture. I live, breathe, and weave around a four county area as a local missionary and have learned of so many supportive faith communities. I meet people who contact me where they are in their 'hike 'o life."

The hats I wear are that of Life Coach, Writer, Speaker, Retreat Facilitator, Pastoral Supply, Prayer Counselor and well, whatever God calls on me to do (I actually get paid to do all of these things, which is awesome, unless you are helping me with my books!) I also work to "tent-make my mission work" as a church secretary for a sweet fellowship pastored by one of my favorite seminary prof's.

So what do I want to be when I grow up? Stay tuned! The goals are big and staying solvent month by month is a huge victory, but as I see my own heart and others hearts change and grow in my daily walk, I realize, I am not working for treasures on earth....I have direct deposit above. Guess that's a pretty sweet ride! Lacing up my hiking boots...on the hike o' life!

Monday, March 7, 2011

A LENTEN JOURNEY: The Feast before the Fast…

“See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:24

On this Monday March 7th for those of us keeping track, we are actually in the traditional season of “Shrovetide”. The three days before Ash Wednesday begin are a time of preparation for the somber season; a time for using up the things you will not indulge in; a time for feasting and frivolity; but also I learned as I was preparing to write this, it is a time to confess.

Yes, a time to confess!

I thought I had read wrong, but these early church leaders knew that as we turned towards Christ, we would see how we fall short, and in order to be ready to face the harsh reality of a world deep in sin, we need to prepare and confess those things we do know we have done, for during our time of reflection God will bring to our attention the things we are not aware of.
The word “shrove” comes from the old English verb; “shrive” which means to confess.

So in these days leading up to the wearing of ashes and sackcloth and confessing together as a church, each believer was to “come clean” with what burdened their heart. The name denotes a period of cleansing, wherein a person brings their lusts and appetites under subjection through abstention and self-sacrifice. The French literally called the day “mardi gras” which means fat Tuesday. Many latin speaking countries used the term carnival referring to the latin for Latin carnem levare, meaning "to take away the flesh" which is what you do on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. You remove the flesh/meat from your home.

The concept behind this practice is found in 1 Corinthians 9:27, where the Apostle Paul states: "I buffet my body and make it my slave..." Ironically, Shrove Tuesday, Carnival or Mardi Gras has evolved into a day of frivolity and indulgence, during which people participate in as much pleasure and self-gratification as they can before Lent begins with really not true understanding of what the day is all about. This is not what the early church intended this become… 

So after the time of repentance in the early church, the children would play, the families would gather around the table and feast upon the good things they had around them. Many cultures enjoy pancakes or crepes on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday; also many cultures enjoy a fat laden doughnuts called “fasnachts” to the German, “paczki” to the Polish and “krofne” to the Serbians.

But this season as well was a time of celebration, having done this task it is time to feast and to celebrate. Looking at the gospels, I see how the early church followed the pattern of Christ. Jesus went to John the Baptist for the repentance with water and in this baptism all of heaven celebrated.

Matthew 3: 11-16
“And John said, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Just as those participating in the Lenten tradition know, we go from feasting to fasting and again let us look to the Gospels to see what happened to Jesus after that baptism and celebration of the Spirit (the dove) and the Father. In the Greek transcript the verb meaning IMMEDIATELY begins the passage.

Mark 1: 12-13 “At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.”

I want to close today by encouraging you in this Monday and Tuesday before the Lenten journey begins to search your heart and let God help you deal with those things most troubling you: to make your repentance and to celebrate our loving God who provides these good things, showing you mercy and forgiving you: and to prepare for the wilderness time that we each have to face at some point in our Christian Journey.

As we come from the mountaintops of feast into the valley of fast, remember that the angels and better yet, God’s Holy Spirit and if you know Christ, His rule in your heart and over your life will comfort you and as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (And if you are not certain that you know Christ as a reality in your world – please contact me and I can guide you on that incredible journey. Jesus is inviting you waiting for you to come to Him.)

My prayer… Lord make us ready, help us confess, help us enjoy the good things around us and draw us near to you as you prepare us and take us on the journey of understanding your Ways to go more deeply in your Kingdom. We pick up our crosses, and seek You. Guide us, hold us, let us hear as You call us. In Jesus’ name above all names, AMEN

1 comment:

Ms. D said...

Thank you for sharing Darcy...It was very thought provoking and inspiring. I am blessed to have such a deep friend and sister!
Love, Deborah