Ministry

Manic Monday

In a week that features Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, perhaps it is unavoidable to have a Manic Monday.

It’s very, very cold here, so cold that my car almost didn’t start and my electric windows don’t want to work and the automatic door locks won’t. (Thank goodness for the clicker.) I drove almost all the way to the doggie day care place and *then* the light flashed on indicating the rear door was not latched; it was frozen, too, hard to open and apparently also hard to close. (The dogs were fine.)

We have a leaky kitchen faucet on which the cold water has been turned off awaiting a part. The toaster caught fire the other day; I seem to remember we lost a toaster the last time Pure Luck was away, too. And #2 Son reports hearing a similar pop in the track lighting in his bedroom.

I put in as many hours of knitting as I could, but despite all my training and efforts, I did not medal in the Knitting Olympics. The clapotis will go into the line of unfinished projects and be picked up again when I finish one that is close to completion. (Or two.) As I confided to Will Smama in the comments, I know there are rumors that I was involved in a doping scandal, but I swear I took nothing stronger than Advil!

Meanwhile, it’s Manic Monday and I haven’t prepared anything yet for Ash Wednesday. I think my colleague, Rev Fun, is going to burn the palms, but I’m not sure who is going up into the church attic to bring down the rough-hewn cross made by one of our parishioners, a cross I love very much. The past two years I’ve gone to a lot of trouble to plan the Ash Wednesday service, bringing in burlap or branches and stones, things I didn’t have to work hard to think up; they just came to me. This year that isn’t the case.

Liturgical experts out there, why do we use the color violet in a penitential season? It seems to me that homespun would be more appropriate.

I have to admit that as a childhood Baptist, Ash Wednesday is elusive to me. I don’t mind the ashes, but other than as a way to mark the beginning of Lent, they don’t hold significance to me. It seems to me I felt much more strongly about the whole thing last year, but I can’t remember why.

Now what is the message in the disconnection? What is the message in being so frayed and plagued with things and tasks that are incomplete? There must be some saving grace to be found, mustn’t there?

I’m thinking of the Shakers this morning, and of one of my favorite hymns.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
and when we find ourselves in the place just right,
’twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained
to bow and to bend we won’t be ashamed,
to turn, turn, will be our delight
till by turning, turning we come round right.

I guess Manic Monday and Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday are rightly places of some agitation, and that turning and turning is all part of being in Lent, at least this year, for this person.

12 thoughts on “Manic Monday”

  1. Our lives are so often in sync. This morning my car doors froze and I had to drive partway to work holding my door shut.
    I have always liked Ash Wednesday. I like someone saying to me:”Remember, woman, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.”
    I like the humility of it, and the whole ecological part, reminding ourselves that our bodies return to earth.
    I might feel differently if I was the person who had to plan out the whole service ….

  2. Well said Songbird.
    I think those of us fairly new to the beatings of the heart of the liturgical calendar are more susceptible than others to being caught by surprise with Ash Wednesday.
    What? A special service? Now? Wasn’t I just reminding folks that it was still Christmas?

  3. Last year I couldn’t even remember what to say while doing the ashes. What a sad excuse for a priest I was. Why, jo(e), you would have done a better job!!

  4. Liturgical colors–actually in many Episcopal churches a “lenten array” is preferred over purple vestments for Lent these days–it’s unbleached linen or muslin, very simple, sometimes edged in black and “oxblood” and/or decorated with a crown of thorns.
    Most of us think of purple as penitential, but in fact it is more “royal”. I’m not sure how it came to be the color for Lent and Advent–I’ll have to do some research on that. And many of us have abandoned purple for Advent in favor of “Sarum Blue”.
    Yes, it is a busy week–for us it starts with a Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner, burying the “alleluias”, and burning the palms. Then 3 Ash Wednesday servicies (7:30 am, 10 am and 7:30 pm). Plus extra programs on Saturday night. And I’m preaching Wednesday night and Sunday.

  5. When I lived in VT I had an old Toyota Corolla. When it was very cold the doors would open, but then they wouldn’t latch shut again. I can remember driving down the road holding my door closed so the car would warm up enough for the latch to thaw so it would stay closed.

  6. I didn’t read (j)oe’s comment before I wrote mine–I’m actually glad to see that I’m not the only one crazy enough to drive while holding my door closed 🙂

  7. Cold here too. And can you imagine it I went out yesterday without gloves – I was in the car but froze – whatever was I think ing of? In the end I pulled my coat sleeves over my hands. Crazy
    Our church won’t do Ash Weds. (I wonder if we really are a UMC church sometimes) so I’ll skip over to the Lutheran service tomoorrow evening. It’s the church where hubby and I married, and the priest who presides tomorrow, just happened to marry hubby and I . nice 🙂
    We have a day of fasting today on pancake day! Go figure! I feel like we’re in a time warp. seriously.
    be blessed

  8. I never think about it being so cold that the car doors/hatches won’t work properly.
    Thanks for the encouragement on the 40 miles/40 days – I didn’t think about it being too cold to walk in some places. My AHA moment came when I was walking…

  9. when I first came to Finland (twenty years ago) I was waiting for a bus in -35C (that’s almost -40F) and my eyelashes froze.
    we’ve done the car door /car boot trick many times, and had to climb in from another door etc etc.
    you’d think car manufacturers would have sorted this by now.
    another ‘funny’ incident came to mind too. In Finland you can put your car on the train to go up to Lapland (it’s 12 hr or more drive on quite small roads so many prefer to do this – spend the night on the train and get off the next morning refreshed and raring to go) only a few years ago we had record lows MINUS FIFTY – and the cars were frozen on the train carriages – frozen solid. I don’t remember how they sorted it – but there were pics on TV of Finns huddled at the station – a bit like Dr Zhivago- being served hot chocolate as they waited … and waited.

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