Got the Ash of Generosity?
Do you have your ash on yet? I am waiting ‘til 7 tonight – and I am eagerly anticipating this symbolic ritual to begin Lent. But it wasn’t always that way. The church I grew up in never made a big deal about Lent, and then I went through the “Jesus Movement” (hey, I grew up in Southern California in the 70s, it was expected) and Lent was definitely verboten – only the “liberal” churches who didn’t really know Jesus did that high churchy kind of thing. It wasn’t until I worked at a Jesuit institution that Lent, and thus Ash Wednesday, really started to mean something. Give up something for 40 days? Yikes – it was gum one year, candy another, ice cream the following (are you seeing a pattern?).
Then I was introduced to the idea of adding something to my life for Lent. Which seemed like the antidote to giving up sugar. So I have tried that too – read the Bible on a daily basis (I know, I know…I should be doing that 365), written notes of encouragement, prayed at noon, you get the idea.
This year, I have seen two excellent examples of ways that you can do something during Lent that can be meaningful not only to you, but to the world.
Julia Frisbie, the Imagine No Malaria Coordinator for the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area sent me a very cool “Giving from Abundance” calendar that gives you the opportunity to raise funds, pretty easily I might say, to help eradicate malaria. In fact, Julia has put together an excellent series of resources to use throughout Lent. You can find them all at http://greaternw.org/lenten-resources/
Rev. Barbara Nixon of Hillview United Methodist Church in Boise, Idaho has designed an “Acts of Love” pledge. According to her “Each day during Lent we will watch for, share in, name and be thankful for acts of love and kindness.” She provided a lovely - and I’m sure stylish - white rubber bracelet as a reminder to those who made the pledge about their commitment (and as an added bonus…it’s an easy conversation starter - a way for the wearer to naturally tell his or her story).
Ash Wednesday is just the beginning -- the beginning of repentance as we move toward the glorious new beginning of Resurrection Sunday. Let your light continue to shine during these next 40 days because generosity in all its forms never takes a break.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.