How Do We Show Love? Provide Opportunities for Service!

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

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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

Helping Others to Be Kind

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, February 22, 2014

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Helping Others to Be Kind

I spent most of my day on the computer today. Not the most exciting of Saturdays, but I got a great deal done. Like the list for my Lenten calendar. Yes, I am going to feature a daily calendar for Lenten observance. 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind: A Lenten Calendar of Service. And in case you were wondering, the sign-up hyper link is immediately to your right (right there –>).

Let me back up a few steps and talk about how I first came up with this idea. I have been working on getting closer to God for a number of years, with sometimes lesser, sometimes greater effect. For the past couple of years, I followed Advent and Lenten calendars and readings with mixed results. Yes, they did help me to get closer to God. Success! However, I wanted something a bit different this time. This put me into a bit of a quandary, but then I came up with it—A Year of Being Kind: 365 Days of Service.

For those of you who have been following this space since the beginning of January, you probably know this already. When the idea for this whole “Being Kind” concept came to me earlier in December, I felt that it was such a natural for me! I’ve been told a number of times that I often act in a naturally kind and tenderhearted manner. This blog turns out to be a great way to develop those gifts and graces, and to get more facile at naturally performing acts of service and ministry.  I know I’ve said it before, but I want this Year of Being Kind to be a year of opportunity for me. I have asked God-as-I-understand-God for opportunities to help others and be of service.

That’s a long way of getting back to what I’ve been doing today—which is preparing the Lenten calendar 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind. For the past week and a half, I consulted a number of other Lenten helps and calendars online. I discussed this concept with several good friends and got a few fine recommendations for acts of service. So, finally I was ready. Ready to compile the list from everything I had rounded up.

I had a few ground rules: primarily, nothing that cost a lot of money. Second, service-oriented acts of ministry and kindness. And most important, I was conscious of older or less-abled persons participating with the Lenten calendar.  I would like as many people to be able to use this calendar as possible!

Another thought came to mind as I compiled this list of Ways to Be Kind; some people might not have certain of these listed items in their local area, or easily accessible to them. That’s okay! They can always pray for those at their local facility, or at the place they just couldn’t go to, for whatever reason. Prayer is always a great idea!

So, that is today’s act of service: compiling the Lenten calendar 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind. God willing, many will be assisted in growing closer to God during Lent through acts of kindness, love and ministry!

@chaplaineliza