"dream great dreams and find the courage to live them"

-erwin mcmanus

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Growing up in heavily-German-populated-northeast Wisconsin, the majority of the population was Catholic.  As such, many many people observed lent by giving up something - usually something along the lines of chocolate or caffeine.  Growing up as a Baptist, well, I thought it was just another meaningless Catholic tradition.

Since then, my eyes have been opened time and time again to the beauty of the tradition of the church calendar, the profundity that comes from centuries of rich history.

Lent is not merely a tradition, but is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting.  It is a time to dwell on brokenness, on the ashes of this world, in eager anticipation for the wholeness and redemption that will come on Easter Sunday.

A prayer for this Ash Wednesday:
(taken from a traditional Lenten liturgy)

Loving God,
you create us from the dust of the earth;
may these ashes be for us a sign
of our penitence and our mortality,
and a reminder that only by the cross
do we receive eternal life
in Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen.

What a good reminder that God brings us out of the dust.  He makes us whole.  He brings newness amidst the ashes.

So we observe the season tangibly by giving up something.  Not just anything, but something of value to us.

Last year I gave up trying to hide my brokenness.  I was distraught over these girls and their brokenness, and it made my own all the more apparent.  So I didn't try to hide it when I cried.  I shared it and it made the burden easier to bear, it made my ministry to these girls all the more real.  I was able to be honest with the girls, with my coworkers, with myself, and with the Lord.  It is something I still value deeply.

I've been considering what to "give up" this year.  While I haven't yet decided, I intend to by the weekend.  In the meantime, consider this poem by Walter Brueggemann.  Also consider buying and reading one of his books - You won't be disappointed.  I promise.

Revise our taking
by Walter Brueggemann

You, you giver!
You have given light and life to the world;
You have given freedom from Pharaoh to your people Israel;
You have given your only Son for the sake of the world;
You have given yourself to us;
You have given and forgiven,
          and you remember our sin no more.
And we, in response, are takers:
     We take eagerly what you give us;
     we take from our neighbors near at hand as is acceptable;
     we take from our unseen neighbors greedily and acquisitively;
     we take from our weak neighbors thoughtlessly;
     we take all that we can lay our hands on.
It dawns on us that our taking does not match your giving.
In this Lenten season revise our taking,
          that it may be grateful and disciplined,
          even as you give in ways generous and overwhelming.

Compliments of my friend, Andrea, is a link to a beautiful description of what lent is and means.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

a memorial.

My post from a few weeks ago becomes a sort of memorial to my grandpa who passed away yesterday. (http://www.erincapers.blogspot.com/2011/12/aging.html)

I leave in the morning for the funeral.  Only the second one I have ever attended.  He was a great man who loved deeply and forever made an impact on my life.

Art Forsman, I love you.