Hard to believe that Lent is almost over. Having missed a week of it (attending a Five Day Academy), it seems like it just began.
All my Lenten activities at church have been good, but attendance has been light. I remarked to our youth minister today that I wasn't sure I'd try anything like this again next year, but her response was to pass along a compliment from one of our parishioners who was telling her how much she appreciated all the emphasis on spiritual formation that I'm bringing to the church. That was nice to hear...the parishioner said she couldn't come to everything I've offered, but she likes it that it's available. And that's true. It's available, and I suppose that counts for something.
Tonight I spent a couple of hours shopping for the Lenten activity we're doing tomorrow. After Evening Prayer then a soup supper, we'll be filling 60 "TAAS Survival Bags" for the 3rd graders at the elementary school next door to our church. TAAS is the standardized test that children have to pass here in Texas, and there is always much angst surrounding it. In fact, as I was standing in line at Party City this evening, a woman in front of me, eyeing everything in my shopping cart, asked whether I was a teacher. I said no, I'm a minister, and I told her about the Survival Bags we're doing tomorrow. Turns out she's a 3rd grade teacher herself, and she actually got all teary-eyed as I told her what we're doing. She says it's awful how much stress and pressure these little children feel about this testing.
That helped me feel good about what I'm doing. ~~Sixty bags, and we're going to fill them with a pencil, a fun little eraser, piece of peppermint, fun stickers, a Hershey's Kiss, lots and lots of little gold stars (confetti type things), little package of Kleenex, and a little card that I just finished making (using MSPublisher and then laminating) that says "You can do it! Yes! Go for it! Your friends next door at First Congregational Believe in YOU!" Pretty cute, huh?
Next week we're writing letters for our Lenten Activity. It'll take me hours and hours to get all that ready...I want to have letters ready for folks to just sign if they want to...letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience identified by Amnesty International, letters in support of Obama's budget proposal (and some not in support of it, I suppose, but most of our congregation would be in favor of it), things like that.
And then after that, Lent is pretty much over and it's on to Easter. Hooray!