What a FABULOUS Shrove Tuesday service!
A friend of mine took this photo with her iPhone while I was preaching this evening and I figured you guys would get a kick out of seeing me at the pulpit.
I kept my sermon short …
… there were PANCAKES to be eaten after all!
Maura (my non-biological mother) showing off both our wine and her manicure!
I came home from church and snapped this Wear a Dress Tuesday picture.
Yes, I preached in 4 inch heels. The pathetic thing is that even WITH the 4 inch heels I was still shorter than the both the priest at the Episcopal church and the priest at the Catholic church. Sad.
Alright, I’m going to cut this short.
A couple of people have asked if I would be willing to post my sermons or videos/audio of me preaching. The service wasn’t taped tonight, but I figured I would post the sermon text. Because this was a special service, it was a very short meditation – only about 5 minutes (usually I preach for 15-20 minutes). Enjoy!
Share The Experience
Technology is an amazing thing. Sometimes I wonder if Paul is looking down at us from heaven and wondering how many more people he could have reached if he been able to podcast his letters, tweet his whereabouts and follow up with the people in the cities he had visited by friending them on facebook.
When I started thinking through my sermon for this evening, I posted on my facebook and twitter accounts the simple question, “What does Lent mean to you?” Now I did get some fun answers (my personal favorite came from a blogger in Alexandria, Virginia who said, “My take on Lent – Christ gave his life for me so I can give up chocolate for him … in a nutshell.”) but I also got some extremely thoughtful and deeply theological answers as well. My favorite response was this from a college student in Beverly, Massachusetts: “I think that Lent is different from other times of fasting throughout the year, because many people are fasting with you and for the same purpose. And since fasting can be such a Holy experience, it’s incredible to share the experience with others!”
“It is incredible to share the experience with others.”
Lent is about so many things. It is about once again journeying to the cross, it is about remembering Jesus’ sacrifice, it is about thinking about our own sacrifices and our own commitments to God, to one another and to the world. But I think that – in a very real way – Lent is about being together as a community. It is about joining together with our Christian brothers and sisters in this lifetime and in past lifetimes through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is about being connected by our likenesses, not divided by our differences. In the 21st century, the concept of “sharing” takes on new meaning. With the simple click of a button, we can be connected to hundreds – even thousands – of people all around the world who are sharing this experience of Lent with us.
Lent is often thought about an individual walk towards the cross, a time to look inside, to reflect on your faith and to renew your own personal commitments to God. And that’s true – it is. But I do not believe you have to make the walk alone.
As fun as it is to think about Shrove Tuesday / Fat Tuesday / Mardis Gras as an opportunity to stuff yourself silly before Lent starts and you commit yourself to giving up chocolate, junk food, sweets, coffee or the more traditional meat and alcohol, I think that there is something else going on. I think that there is something deeply theological going on as Christians all around the world come together and share a meal.
Tonight, after church, we will come together for a pancake supper. But it is not just a pancake supper. It is a celebration of community, of abundance, of love.
Paul said in his letter to the Philippians that we just read, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection.” I believe that the power of the resurrection can be found in a meal shared by friends. I believe that the power of the resurrection can be found in extreme laughter and tears. I believe that the power of the resurrection can be found as people prepare themselves for Lent. I believe that the power of the resurrection can be found as Christians all around the world support each other and lift each other up in their own individual Lenten journeys. I believe that the power of the resurrection can be found right here, right now.
And it will be incredible to share the experience with others. Amen.