Growing up Roman Catholic exposed me to fasting. I remember taking a sack breakfast of hard-boiled eggs and cinnamon toast to school to eat after communion. Throughout my childhood I ate no meat on Fridays. I never questioned the practice because everyone around me fasted.
That very first day I stood in the serving line for the Bread of Life we were serving a Wednesday meal out under the pecan trees. I stood that fall evening at the beginning of the line passing out the plastic serving ware—you know the kind that have all the white utensils, a salt and pepper packet and a little napkin. I had never served—not in this way. Oh, I have served all of my life but only to my peers. To men and women who looked like me and shopped where I shopped and took their children to the same school. You know, it was a kind of mutuality in service. (more…)
His eyes scanned the congregation from the familiar confines of the pulpit that bore the evidence of many a page turn, sweaty palms and coffee spills. His eyes were met by many others; a few hungry for nourishing words, some only mildly amused, others tentative and uncertain, still others hiding veiled pain and hostility. The punishing schedule of producing what amounted to an essay every week, all with clever turns of phrase, well placed jokes, tenderly spoken personal anecdotes and the dizzying exegetical dismount had worn thin his already wavering passion. (more…)
I grew up Catholic and Lent for our family meant eating more fish. For some reason meals with fish instead of meat was a form of fasting. And since eating fish consisted of the unceremonious rotation between frozen fish sticks and tuna casserole, it did in fact comprise a form of deprivation. Whenever my sisters and I complained, however, Mom reminded us that when she was a girl, her parents made her eat barracuda, which (for her) was sheer torture. She assured us that we were getting off easy and had no room to complain. (more…)
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
What is happening? That’s what Peter had to have been wondering. Just a few hours earlier Jesus had called Peter his rock, upon whom his church would be built. Now he’s calling him the Devil. Not even the son of the Devil, but the Devil himself. Peter may have pushed his way gruffly through the crowd. Maybe he’d had enough of this nonsense, Jesus always speaking in riddles. Peter had been faithful. He’d worked as hard as anybody of the disciple band to usher in the kingdom. (more…)
One of the fruits of Lenten observance for me has been to expose the practical realities of who or what I am trusting. A familiar passage helped me recently to reflect on this for this year’s Lenten journey.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
And he will show you which path to take. (more…)