Be Kind, Serve Others, Forgive Myself

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, March 5, 2014

forgive-bible-quotes

Be Kind, Serve Others, Forgive Myself

Another day, another opportunity for service. I did do several acts of service today. There are a few I could ordinarily write a decent post about. And,  I promise to write a blog post soon about my evolving thoughts on acts of service. But—today also happened to be Ash Wednesday. I was so busy in the morning and afternoon that I hardly had time to turn around, much less take time to pray.

I got a lot done today, admittedly. I did some laundry for a senior acquaintance of mine—among other things. I ran some necessary errands. I made a few important telephone calls. So, yes. I did do several acts of service for others. However, that is not what is on my mind today. Instead, my mind is focusing on prayer. Or, lack of prayer today. I did not have time to pray this morning, as is my usual habit lately.  Today of all days, I did not pray.

I did a good deal of busy work today. Some of it happened to be very necessary, and a lot of it much appreciated. But I did not take time for me until the church service this evening. It was then that I had the leisure to slow down, take a deep breath, and pray.

Going back in my memory to Ash Wednesdays past, I was not always so connected, so penitential. Sometimes I intellectualized the observance. It depended on where I was, in my thoughts and my experience. I was always respectful. I always honored and respected those who wished to receive the imposition of ashes, or sink to their knees in penitence, or lift their hands in prayer.  But that observant person was not always me. I wasn’t that guy. At least, not often.

But today was different. I felt especially penitent for this observance of Ash Wednesday. And, I truly missed the fact that I was unable to pray this morning. I don’t think it was because I had especially huge sins to confess since the last Lenten observance. No, I suspect it was because I had grown closer to God. For some reason. I am not saying that my acts of service and my Year of Being Kind have anything to do with my relative closeness to God this Ash Wednesday. (But, there may really be a precaution, or a praise. Whatever.)

I did have a close connection to God this evening. I did feel a special openness to God while I sat there in church. I was able to pray with several minutes of absolutely clarity. And, I did confess my sins to God. I felt the forgiveness, mercy and love of God return to me, too.  I prayed, asked forgiveness, and God took care of my sins being right away. Talk about fast! And I didn’t even have to rewind, retweet, or  replay. Thanks, God. Thanks for Your forgiveness, grace and mercy towards me, and towards all who ask Your forgiveness with a penitent heart

@chaplaineliza

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How Do We Show Love? Provide Opportunities for Service!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, February 26, 2014

BK one kind word

How Do We Show Love? Provide Opportunities for Service!

A week from today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. I thought that a helpful, loving way to be of service today is through my computer. So, today I will offer 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind (a Lenten Calendar of Service) to my friends and acquaintances through email, Twitter and my Facebook page.

The church I attend observes the Liturgical Year, the liturgical calendar of events and periods of time that encompass the turning of the year. Lent is an observance of the forty days before Holy Week. In this way, we remember the forty days Jesus spent in the desert, in preparation for the start of His public ministry.

What with the partying and feasting of Mardi Gras and Carnival, people all over the world make a splash before they dive into the Lenten time of preparation for Easter. Many devotionals and books with readings offer special observances at this special time of the year. Fasting and “giving up something for Lent” are common, too—denying oneself certain sweets or treats, or eating altogether.  This Lenten Calendar of Service instead is adding something to the observance of faithful believers—like you and me.

I remember the Lutheran church of my childhood. Liturgical practices, clerical robes, stained glass windows. Of course we followed the Liturgical Year! I came to know the turning of the seasons—spring, summer, autumn, winter. This was in conjunction with the turning of the church seasons from the first Sunday of Advent through Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and the other smaller (but no less important) festivals and days of celebration. Ringing the changes as the seasons came full circle.

There was a season of my life that I attended one nondenominational church, and then another. The year kept turning, but without the familiar liturgical color scheme. Refreshing to have a freedom from the bonds of strict structure! But as the years went on, I came to appreciate liturgy—when I encountered it on the rare occasion at other churches and services. Sure, there were Easter and Christmas celebrations in these nondenominational churches, too, but it was somehow different. Without hearkening back to the time- and tradition-honored themes and rhythms of centuries past.  Now, I have returned to the liturgical tradition. I know it’s not for everyone, but I feel God working deep down inside of me when I am in that church setting. It’s right for me, right now.

Why a Lenten Calendar of Service, you may ask? Great question! I felt God’s leading to embark on a Year of Being Kind (365 Days of Service) at the end of December. These daily acts of service have been restorative to my soul. So beneficial that I went ahead and made up a calendar of daily opportunities for service. Thus, the 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind.

I encourage you to embark on this 40-day journey of kindness and love with me! And I pray that God will send all of us awesome experiences this Lenten season. What will God send you tomorrow?

@chaplaineliza