I've been reading on various blogs about what different pastors/seminarian/theology-types are doing for Lent - giving something up, some even abstaining from the internet or blogging for Lent (eek - brave souls)... I don't usually give something up for Lent. Sometimes I try, but I rarely keep at it through the whole season, and more often than not, I just don't give something up at all. I'm not sure quite what my plan will be this year, but the time is fast approaching!
I do feel a bit more prepared for Lent this year - some of my clergy colleagues and I - other young women in my conference who are pastors - have been getting together to plan worship for Advent and now Lent. We talk over ideas and themes and texts together, and I've found it extremely helpful. Advent and Lent have ways of sneaking up on me, but this time around, I actually have at least a general plan to take me from Ash Wednesday to Easter.
Still, though, one of the hard things about being a pastor is that you never get to fully immerse yourself in the season you are actually in - at least, this is a struggle I have. By the time Lent is actually here, my mind is already halfway into the post-Easter season, thinking about April and May and June. I find it hard to be fully present in the time we're in. And when I'm worrying about the details of each service, I find it hard to also have a sense that I am also a worship participant. Of course, I find ways to nurture my spirit on my own, but I do miss being part of a corporate worshipping body in non-pastor ways!
One thing we do at St. Paul's that I have really come to cherish is our weekly Communion and Soup Supper Service. Each Wednesday, we meet for dinner - we bring cans of soup - one for the food pantry, and one to eat, along with different breads. We start out with a short communion service. Last year we focused on learning about communion - celebrating different ways, learning what each part of the liturgy means. This year, we will focus on prayer and ways that we pray. We usually have 15-20 people for this service, and we meet in our small chapel, and I enjoy the quiet, intimate, reflective service. I'm still leading, but the atmosphere also allows me to feel like I'm participating too.
What are you doing to pay attention to the season this Lent? Are you giving something up? If you are a worship leader, how do you participate while you are leading?