Notes from Jan

Time to Tithe

March 11, 2019

Growing up Baptist left me almost as ignorant of this sacred season as my granddaughter, Maggie. When she was four years old and a recent comer with Jud and me to the Episcopal church, Maggie joined a Sunday School class of beginners. When asked, “Does anyone know what Lent is?”, she waved her hand and answered, “It’s what’s in my baby sister’s belly button.”

This season, which begins with reminders of our own mortality, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and our need to reflect and repent, comes as a gift. A few years ago, when I first did Lent, I gave up chocolate. God must have snickered. Can you imagine Seattle, the home of Starbucks, if everyone gave up caffeine. Wars have been started for less.

All that to say, Lent’s become more meaningful to me over time. Since Jud died, I’ve become part of a reading group that meets and reads something significant together during the seasons of Advent and Lent. We met this morning, just two of us this time, reading and discussing N.T. Wright’s Lent for Everyone.

Wright took us back to Bethlehem, where some of us were last Sunday in Sunday School at Christ Church. He reminded us of the absurdity of shepherds,” instead of leading their sheep, were being led, told to go and find something–someone— who’s lying in a feeding-trough…the great Shepherd himself has been born! The King is here, and you are his sheep, his people! Come and find him.” (page 6)

Lent is a holy time, approximately 1/10th of a year, a tithe of time to be offered to the One who holds time and us in His hands and heart every day of our lives. Time to “Come and find him.”

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  • Reply Wendy Lane March 13, 2019 at 7:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing Jan. Lent has become more meaningful to me too. I still do give up something that I really, REALLY like – and I’m not going to pretend, it’s HARD! I’m kind of embarrassed how hard it is. But it truly causes me to ponder deeply and often all that Jesus and His Father, our Father, gave up for us at that cross. And I know it’s good for me to deny myself, I’m so thoroughly blessed to get to eat pretty much what I want when I want (I mean, I can afford it and have access to it!) It reminds me of so many who go hungry day in and day out. I’m also doing a Lenten devotional on the Bible App with Sherrill Mckay this year – it’s been so wonderful to reconnect this way. Would be better in person, but email and txt is working! The gift Jesus gave us of Christian brothers and sisters is yet another priceless result of The Cross. So thankful for this time to draw nearer to our Great Shepherd. <3

  • Reply Valerie McCoy March 14, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Dearest Jan,
    As soda bread bakes in the oven, my thoughts turn to you and your gift of writing, especially at Lent. I send along another of my favorite authors (Frederick Buechner) Lenten offering. It is a beautifully humble piece which will make your heart both glad and cleansing. I send my love to you as well

    WINTER CAME, OLD Wear froze hard. Snow fell on snow.
    The woods were still. William trapped small game, but food was scarce. The three of them dwelled in their house, I in my cell. We dug a path between, but it would often lie for days untrod. God was the cause, for he and I were like a couple newly wed. I ever spoke my love to him . I bared my heart for him to cleanse. I sought to please him any way I could, and since there were no riches I could give to him whose coffers hold the sun and moon, I’d give instead by taking from myself.
    Elric taught me this. The fire that I didn’t build for heat, the wool for warmth I went without, the food I didn’t eat—all these were like the trinkets that a man gives to a maid. More precious still, I gave him all the cheer I might have had with other mortals like myself. Sitting by a flaming hearth with bowls of broth and talk of times gone by, how we’d have laughed the winter wind to shame! And yet, instead, I gave it like a bright and fiery gem for God to pin upon his gown or deck some starless corner of the sky.
    -Originally published in Godric

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