Feasting today, my friends.

A feast for my heart.

Laying out a banquet for my Beloved.

Preparation begins early–before the sun rises.

I am as one readying a wedding banquet, considering every detail.

Prayers are shaken out and allowed to fall–the finest of linens, a blanket of purity.

The table is set with the good china–a favorite Bible and other books to meditate on during this time.

The candle is lit, burning fire of love.

The main course?

The Word.

It incites excitement in this context of sanctity, for it is nourishment. It fills and energizes . The words are the finest morsels, and I hold them in my mouth longer, for to savor their sweetness. I write them down and carry them with me throughout the day, so that I will not forget His tenderness. I can taste them in the most ordinary of situations, relishing the special flavor that only I can taste.

These are the words of my Beloved; He speaks them only to me this day. They are soft and intimate, whispers of love.

The excitement is in the small helps arranged. Tiny gifts of thoughtfulness and care. Flavored waters, hot tea. Each drink a secret I share with my love.

We keep this intimacy between us.

Senses are heightened, body in a state of expectation.

This shakiness–a reminder that He will strengthen.

When hunger chews inside, it too reminds to turn thoughts back to Him, my own love.

Through it all, He is pulls me ever closer to Him.

He whispers to me all the day long, encouraging words of love.

And I break my fast in a far more nourished state than when I entered into it. Humbled–treasured by my Love.

I has been a secret tryst, that leaves me assured that I am loved.

It makes me smile to think of Him, waiting for me. Waiting for me to prepare another feast like this. A sweet time together.

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Flesh and Bone

We cue up; wait to offer brow for this sacred facepainting.

I stand behind Jeffrey, watch as Pastor-friend rubs blackened thumb across fair fore…

when I hear these words.

From dust you came and to dust you shall return, Jeffrey.”

These words.

And his name.

Terror seizes my heart.

Lump creeps up to throat.

Eyes…eyes begin to see.

We are only flesh and bone.

I want to fall to my knees, beat my breast, and tear this cloth that binds me, so I will be free—free to sob and wail and writhe in the pain of my guilt and sorrow.

We are only flesh and bone.

“We enter into Lent as a people who know the entire story…”

Pastor-friend breathes hope into these dry bones.

Yes. Yes!

There is more to this story. Lent is the journey to the cross—and to the resurrection beyond.

But as we drive through dense night, stars light up other skies…for dark clouds move like mountains in the sky.

And sorrow lingers.

I feel it—heavy–fall over me, weighting down my chest, filling my eyes with these tears.

Such grace.

Such grace.

Such awesome grace.

How does one comprehend such grace?

How does one hold out hands to take this,

this soul-freeing—chain-breaking—death-swallowing—love-inspiring—

God-sized

Grace?

We are only flesh and bone.

From dust we came.

To dust we will return.

But that will not be our final destination.

This journey breaks me…

As it should.

This grace is mine to hold in my hands.

I coddle it close, hold it tenderly.

And wear these ashes on my head.

Shriving

Sharing our Shrove Tuesday doings, beloveds! Pray yours was sweet and filled with joy.

We come together.

Usher in this season of Lent; ache to shed our excess.

Tonight, we feast.





We feast on the sweets of abundance; drinking in laughter and offering what we hold in our hands.











For tomorrow we will don the garb of mourning, let ashes crown our glory.


But tonight, we celebrate the great blessings he has given us.










“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” (Psalm 126:2-3)

Ashes to Ashes

I have Jesus’ fingerprints on my head. We’ve just returned from Ash Wednesday service, and I have been touched by His hand. We are entering the Lenten season, and as with every year, I am giddy with gratitude.

As much as I love Contemporary Worship, the keeping of the traditions of the Church move me in unspeakable ways. The heaviness of hundreds of years of hearts and minds standing in the same place that I am settles deeply within me. It is not a burden. It is a kinship. And my heart longs for those deep reaching roots.

Tonight I stood in line with my brothers and sisters and waited for my Pastor to make a cross of ashes on my head. My two children stood in front of me, and when I heard her speak the words over Jeffrey, a lump formed in my throat.

Jeffrey, you are dust and to dust you will return.”

It made me shudder to hear these words spoken to my baby. And in that moment I was keenly aware of the sacrifice that has been made on my behalf.

As I took my place to receive the ashes, my pastor ceased to be my friend. Instead, she became the hands of Jesus. She called me by name, because He loves me.

Laura, you are dust and to dust you will return.”

The intimacy of the moment took my breath away, and I felt His breath on my cheek. The ashes fell onto the front of my shirt as I walked back to the pew. A cascade of sorrow, of guilt and shame. And I wondered if His blood fell in such a pattern. When it struck the earth, did the soil moan with sorrow? Or did it rejoice at the prophecy fulfilled? Somehow, I have such difficulty finding joy in that moment. Only shame. Because I am unworthy. Oh, my God, I am unworthy.

Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornamented robe she was wearing. She put her hand on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.”— (2 Samuel 13:19)

This is the sorrow I feel as I enter into Lent. The sorrow of shame. But intermingled with this I something else. I ask God over and over: Why did you have to do it this way? Wasn’t there a better way? And then I am flooded with gratitude and I understand.

Lent is a time of contemplation and self-denial. It is a time to shelter under His wings and experience His might and His goodness. To me, all of earth seems to pause and breathe more deeply. Waiting.

Oh, Dear Ones, we are waiting. Easter is on its way.