1. Oddly this year, the second day of Lent was Valentine's Day. How was this for you? Was Valentine's Day any different being in Lent?
Valentine's Day being only the second day of Lent made it feel a bit different; as usual for the past few months, I helped prepare Thursday community dinner at Church Around the Corner (I made about half the grilled cheese sandwiches), as part of what turned out to be a yummy, not remotely spartan meal with two kinds of soup, tossed green salad, fruit salad, deviled eggs, strawberry lemonade, ice cream, strawberry, chocolate toppings... I also dropped several hints that the flavorful, chewy, sourdough and other (Trader Joe's leftovers) breads we used for the sandwiches would make excellent communion bread, but was polite enough not to mention the soft, sweet Hawaiian bread they've been using.
2. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday this year? Any memories of memorable celebrations past?
This year I enjoyed pancake supper at Church Up the Hill from here; it was maybe my 2nd or 3rd Shrove Tuesday event, if memory serves me (who knows if it does?), that's as exotic as I've ever done.
3. How about Ash Wednesday, past and/or present?
Wednesday evening I was organist for the Town and Gown LCMS where I'm one of their three or four organists. We enjoyed soup and bread supper with conversation beforehand. Nice. Ash Wednesday isn't a super-special day for me, but I always remember the interim pastor at the church I attended for a few years suggesting we wear our ashes to bed that evening—something about looking in the mirror Thursday morning and being surprised!
4. Do you have a personal plan of give-ups, take-ons, special ministries, and/or a special focus for your own spiritual growth between now and Easter?
I've started Lenten photo-a-day challenge on rethink church. So far my plan is a photograph right out of the camera each day, but I may vary that some and occasionally do a little graphic blandishment, decorating, or text. It's also possible I'll use the daily prompt to write rather than photograph something.
5. Do you have a book or a website you are reading often during Lent?
A couple days before Ash Wednesday I happened upon 3 booklets of lenten readings (I detest the "Devotional" word) from past years from creative communications for the parish with reflections from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, C S. Lewis and Henri Nouwen, and will read piecemeal in all those.
Bonus: Song, prayer, picture, etc. that sums up your feelings about this liturgical springtime.
Here by the Water
Soft field of clover
Moon shining over the valley
Joining the song of the river
To the great giver of the great good
And here by the water
I’ll build an altar to praise Him
Out of the stones that I’ve found here
I’ll set them down here
Rough as they are
Knowing You can make them holy...
Music and Lyric by Jim Croegaert | © 1986 Rough Stones Music