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Posts tagged "Lent"

Devastating and Hopeful: Collect for the Second Sunday of Lent

Devastating and Hopeful: Collect for the Second Sunday of Lent

Looking through our archives the other day, I was surprised to discover that we’ve never posted an excerpt from The Collects of Thomas Cranmer by Paul Zahl and Fred Barbee. It’s a wonderful little book, really more of a devotional, and not just for those who are interested in Cranmer’s prayers or the Anglican tradition. Take for instance the meditation on the collect for the Second Sunday in Lent (this past Sunday):

The Collect: Almighty God, which doest see that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; keep thou us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls;…

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Lenten Complaint – Scott Cairns

From his absolutely mandatory collection from last year, Idiot Psalms:

idiot-psalms-new-poemsThe breakfast was adequate, the fast
itself sub-par. We gluttons, having
modified our habits only somewhat
within the looming Lenten dark, failed
quite to shake our thick despair, an air
that clamped the heart, made moot the prayer.
As dim disciples having seen the light,
we supplied to it an unrelenting gloom.

Wipe your chin. I’m dying here
in Omaha, amid the flat, surrounded
by the beefy, land-locked generations,
the river, and the river’s rancid shore.

O what I wouldn’t give for a lifting,
cool salt breeze, a beach, a Labrador.

Another Week Ends: Even More Camille Paglia, Digital Soul-Training, Backstabbing Enablers, Apolitical Auden, and Masculine Christianity

Another Week Ends: Even More Camille Paglia, Digital Soul-Training, Backstabbing Enablers, Apolitical Auden, and Masculine Christianity

1. Where to start with a hierarchy of most severe ‘little-l law’ in ‘secular’ society? We could start with body image, health, having cool experiences, and the like, but prosperity honestly takes the cake. And among the people who have already checked that box, it’s fast becoming political correctness. Political correctness is important, but its ascendant, uncompromising severity and occasional use as a class-code leads to a totalization which is, to say the least, in tension with the traditional (L/l)iberal ideal of discourse. Cue Camille Paglia, who had some fantastic things to say in America Magazine (Jesuits) about the backslide of feminism and…

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Another Week Ends: Facelessness, Lent CEOs, Literacy Losers, Baseball Clocks, and North Korean Inspiration

Another Week Ends: Facelessness, Lent CEOs, Literacy Losers, Baseball Clocks, and North Korean Inspiration

1) Stephen Marche is certainly making a name for himself as the technological doomster, and in a supremely convincing way. He’s the one that wrote that piece we completely over-covered, called “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” and then there was that piece on our modern muse, Failure, and right in time for Ash Wednesday, we have “The Epidemic of Facelessness,” an op-ed piece which appeared in this Sunday’s Times. Marche talks in great detail about an age where, in most part, the majority of our social interaction takes place online and on screen. One of the consequences of this impersonal…

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What Would Jesus Do (for Lent)?

What Would Jesus Do (for Lent)?

It is hard to believe that Ash Wednesday is upon us, with Lent coming in its wake. This season always stirs up some theological anxiety for me. I think it does for many of us. Each year, we hear the incredible story of Jesus heading into the desert. Here from the Gospel of Luke:

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.

There is a widely preached theology which tells us that we can somehow identify with Jesus. This lens is…

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A Lenten Devotion: The Difficulty of Receiving and the Greatness of the Giver

A Lenten Devotion: The Difficulty of Receiving and the Greatness of the Giver

‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, ‘Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ Nehemiah 8:9-10

As the people weep and mourn for the sinful, law-breaking ways, Nehemiah, Ezra, and the Levites call the people to look no longer at themselves but…

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Lenten Jams, Pt III: Darden Smith’s “Field of Crows”

Lenten Jams, Pt III: Darden Smith’s “Field of Crows”

This reflection comes from Mbird contributor and friend, Malone Gilliam:

Happens to be one of those days (which is actually everyday)…. I start the morning on my elliptical trying to wage some kind of war against aging and weight gain. My efforts are more to stem the tide rather than take any ground. Halfway through my ‘sweat-fest,’ my iPod shuffles to Darden Smith’s song, “Field of Crows.”Even though it contains no inherently good news, for me it soothes like the Balm of Gilead. It simply and honestly laments the cruelty of the Law.

I have wanted to post on this tune…

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Of Wolves and Tax Forms: A Lenten Devotion

Of Wolves and Tax Forms: A Lenten Devotion

“There are wolves at my door, Father. Wolves that exist, and ones I imagine. They want to come in, and rend me.  They snuff at the foot of the door, and paw at the windows. This little hovel I fill threatens to give way to their press. I am never free from them, or from the worry of them. When I sleep, I run from them, and I feel their breath on my face. While I am awake,  I give myself over to thoughts of them. Some of them are real … sickness, pain, fear, hurry, rejection,…

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The Pink Prophet: A Lenten Reflection on Control

The Pink Prophet: A Lenten Reflection on Control

Thus says the LORD: Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the LORD. 6 They shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when relief comes. They shall live in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. 7 Blessed are those who trust in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. 8 They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay…

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Lenten Jams, Pt I: The Artist Sings His Calvary Song

Proving once again that if all he did was play guitar, he would still be a Prince among men:


11 The Cross – LoveSexy Tour Dortmund 1988 by samsarax

The Law and Gospel (of Lent) according to Chocolat

The Law and Gospel (of Lent) according to Chocolat

Much like the nation of Greece, the season of Lent is characterized by “austerity measures.” And while such devotion can be beautiful, Lenten observance can also border on piety for piety’s sake, or what we might call works righteousness. Please do not misunderstand me: I enjoy and value the season. Who of us wouldn’t benefit from setting aside time to reflect on the grace and mercy of God (and our need to repent)?

The tension between the need for mercy that defines Lent (in theory) and the works righteousness with which it has all too often become synonymous is the theme…

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A Lenten Reflection on the Isenheim Altarpiece

A Lenten Reflection on the Isenheim Altarpiece

Matthias Grunewald’s crucifixion, one of the panels of the Isenheim altarpiece, was commissioned for the church hospital of St. Anthony in Colmar France, which specialized in comforting those dying with skin diseases. Grunewald kept the background of this powerful piece of religious art intentionally dark to highlight the horrific scene: especially Christ’s smashed feet, his contorted arms, and twisted hands. The cross is bowed to demonstrate Jesus bearing the sins of the world. The most shocking part of the piece, however, is that Jesus also has a skin disease, and his loin cloth is the same as the wrappings worn…

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