Meal planning fail

My lenten discipline this year was an absolute fail. In fact, it totally backfired.

When we got married and I was struggling to find and reorient routine, I started getting really good at planning our meals. When it was just me, I would plan daily, with daily trips to the grocery store. But that was mostly really bad planning. At least three times a week I was eating one meal a day, having supper at 9pm and many other bad habits. Now with an other in the house with whom I LOVE to share meals, square meals have become a blessing.

This winter was a horrible one for me workwise, and so meal planning went out the window. Lots of evenings out, grabbing prepared meals at the grocery store or fast food, it’s been pretty bad. So, I tried meal planning as my Lenten discipline. I don’t think I have ever failed so miserably at a Lenten discipline. My good cousin was very encouraging and told me that, perhaps, there is good learning in failing at a Lenten discipline, that failing at self-control teaches me that I am not in control.

So, this week, I am trying again. When I tried to get back into my meal planning, I came up with a complete blank. Nothing looked interesting, or easy. My cupboards and fridge are full of food that needs produce in order to eat it.

Today, as I was looking at my cookbooks I remembered Sticky Lemon Chicken from Gordon Ramsey. It excited me more than the dish really warrants, but my hope is now that I have settled on one meal, the rest will surely follow.

I also accidentally took home my friend’s copy of the Moosewood Cookbook. I SWEAR it was an ACCIDENT!! I have it for one week, so the experimenting can begin!


Why all the Ashes?

Thought I would share. D.

ACNS 4120 | ACO | 28 FEBRUARY 2006

Why all the Ashes?

I was lucky enough to be in one of Professor Frederick Shriver’s classes at General Seminary just before he retired. Father Shriver is not one to keep his opinions to himself and I especially recall his thoughts about ashes. “You know what I’d do if I were the rector of a church?” he asked our class. “You know what I’d do? I’ll tell you what I’d do. At the end of the Ash Wednesday liturgy, I’d be at the back door with a big washrag. As people left the church, I’d wipe the ashes off their forehead and remind them of the words of our Lord, “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them” (Matthew 6:1).

Father Shriver had no time for religious pretence or hollow religiosity. His sentiments are profoundly biblical, echoing the preaching of the prophets and the teaching of our Lord. Given this strong criticism of outward piety and given that at Saint Mary’s we will offer ashes all day on March 1, we might well ask ourselves, “Why all the ashes?

Because ashes are a sign, they are a reminder, and ashes are an invitation.

Archaeologists tell us that the people of Israel were not alone in using ashes in rituals of purification. Ashes appear in Phoenician burial art and Arabic expressions. Ashes were a sign of grief, mourning, humiliation and penitence. When Job loses everything, he sits among the ashes. Cursed and overrun by enemies, the Psalmist “eats ashes like bread, and mingles tears with drink.” Ashes are what are left after destruction. After chaos or catastrophe, ashes are what remain.

Ashes also remind us of a common origin. The second chapter of Genesis tells of how we were created from the dust of the ground. Though we may spend our lives trying to distinguish ourselves from others, running after success and trying to feel different from others, the dust and ashes remind us that we are all made of the same stuff. We are reminded not only of our beginning but also of our end. On the First Day of Lent, ashes are imposed with the words, Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Those words apply to us all.

While ashes may signify and remind, they also invite. They invite us to repentance. They invite us to turn again to God and to receive new life. Isaiah brings glad tidings to the people of Israel, “to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning.” Ashes are not the end but are just the beginning. They begin a season that moves us through silence and longing into a season of joy and resurrection.

Sunday, February 26 is the Last Sunday after the Epiphany. The music will be celebrative and the mood joyous. The alleluias will echo for the next few days, until we reach the quiet of Ash Wednesday.

On that day, may the ashes we receive be a sign of our humility and our penitence. May they remind us of our individual sins and the complexity of corporate sin. But more than anything, may the ashes invite us into God’s presence, into God’s love and into God’s gift of new life.

Article from: Angelus On Line Newsletter, St Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church, New York
by Father John Beddingfield

Editor\’s note: This church is located on 46th St in Manhattan just in Times Square, the church will have a minister on duty all day from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Thousands will visit the church on that day. Have a good Lent. JMR

ACNSlist, published by Anglican Communion News Service, London, is distributed to more than 8,000 journalists and other readers around the world.

Resources for AIDS and Lent-Updated

Over the past few months I have been travelling around the Diocese preaching about my time in India and the fight against HIV/AIDS (CNI-HIV/AIDS Programme) . In my spare time (HA!) I have been trying to find resources that parishes can use to promote awareness for the Partnership for Life: A Generation without AIDS.

I would commend the many worship resources available on the PWRDF website (click on Partnership above). In particular, Jeanette Romkema PWRDF HIV/AIDS Education and Animation Coordinator has compiled a beautiful collection of prayers, litanies, confessions and affirmations. Along with that, I have found a Stations of the Cross (post below), courtesy of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis. I have adapted it somewhat to reflect a more global focus.

When looking for resources, I would recommend those that have a focus on more than one of the following:

  • AIDS in the Americas
  • The spread of AIDS in Asia and Eastern Europe
  • Caring for Africa
  • Women
  • Stigma and Discrimination
  • Orphans
  • Distribution of medications
  • Proactive awareness campaigns

Each of these can be overwhelming, but AIDS is overwhelming.

I will try to update this post over the weeks ahead with further resources to help your parish include the struggle against HIV/AIDS in your liturgies.


Stations of the Cross For a World Living with AIDS

PLEASE don’t cut and paste what is below. I’m sure it will cause you more trouble than it is worth! I have only posted Stations 1, 2, 14 and 15. If you would like to use it, please email me and I will send you a clean copy.

I have attended two liturgies of the Stations of the Cross in a Roman Catholic setting. Both were beautiful, profound, heartbreaking and completely transformed my Easter experience. However, not everyone is up for the entire journey in one go. Some parishes will perform 3 stations each Sunday of Lent ending the Sunday before Palm Sunday.

If you do not have stations posted on the wall, you can be creative. A red ribbon with a number under it for each station would be a powerful visual, for example. Lit candles on window sills also works.



Opening Prayer

Gracious God, we live in a world affected by HIV/AIDS. Its victims are our co-workers, our friends, our family members, our neighbours, our students, our classmates, our church members. Its face is both anonymous and very familiar. It is as close as our neighbourhood and as far away as the other side of the world. We gather now to pray for all those whose lives have been touched by HIV/AIDS. Be with us as we pray for them and for ourselves.


Jesus is Condemned to Death Deciding to Be Tested for HIV/AIDS

Leader: Lord, be with us.

All: And come with peace to save your people.

Leader: Every day many people struggle with the decision to be tested for AIDS. Should I? Shouldnt

I? Would it be better to know? Will I need to leave my family if the test is positive? Can I ignore the possibility that I have HIV/AIDS and just go on living? And these people who struggle…they are just like you and me…just like our sons and daughters, just like our friends…and yes, just like our parents and grandparents. So many times it is fear that keeps them from reaching out for help. And for some, it is ignorance…they cant believe that they might be carrying the disease and might even be passing it to others. The absence of symptoms gives them a false security.

Lord, look on us with love.

All: Be near, hear our prayer.

Lord, help all those who are afraid to be tested for HIV/AIDS. Calm their fears and give them the courage they need. Bless those who do the testing with compassion and gentleness so that they may mirror your love to all they serve.


Jesus takes up his cross: Accepting the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS

Leader: Lord, be with us.

All: And come with peace to save your people.

Leader: Each person who has HIV/AIDS has his or her own individual story, but people all over the world are united by this tragic illness and by the struggle to accept what it means for life and for death. The question, “Why me, and not some other?” strikes deep in the heart. The struggle may include anger at others, anger at life, anger at self, anger even at God, and the peace of acceptance seems unreachable.

Lord, look on us with love.

All: Be near, hear our prayer.

Lord, the journey of life for someone who has HIV/AIDS may be long, difficult, and painful. As Jesus was given courage and strength for his painful journey, give to those affected by HIV/AIDS courage and strength to make their journey through life. Let us remember that though heavily burdened we can come to you to be unburdened through your grace, and that through your journey we have the opportunity for eternal life.

Station XIV

Jesusbody is placed in the tomb:Leaving friends behind

Leader: Lord, be with us.

All: And come with peace to save your people.

Leader: After Daniel’s death family and friends struggled to come to terms with the loss, with letting go of him, and with the fact that physical death, rather than a miracle of new physical life, resulted. There was an empty space for caregivers who ran errands for him, kept watch with him, managed his medications, and handled his remaining daily affairs. No matter how strong their faith, there was a sense of loss and grief, an empty hole where care and comfort-giving have been. Even today the search for a personal meaning of the loss continues, and there is a great need to find spiritual comfort.. For many, there is a need to experience comfort with others who understand and who have shared similar losses. New bonds of friendship and family are being forged through these painful times.

Lord, look on us with love.

All: Be near, hear our prayer.

Lord, you tell us you are always with us. We know that in our minds. Help all of us to feel it in our hearts. We offer you our grief and pain; we know that others are suffering deeply, too, and we offer you their grief and pain. We know that your love will surely provide the healing comfort that we seek.

Station XV

The Resurrection: Beginning New Life

Leader: Lord, be with us.

All: And come with peace to save your people.

Leader: The joy of eternal life awaits all who have died. The blessing of this belief offers hope, reassurance, and peace to those who remain, to encourage them to see in this death a resurrection. Even where the idea of eternal life is doubted, all can be helped to open themselves to new ideas, new life, and new beginnings, a resurrection of its own kind, smiled upon by a gentle God who knows our hearts and our needs in death and in life.

Lord, look on us with love.

All: Be near, hear our prayer.

Lord, please forgive our fragile faith. Help us to recognize in your resurrection the wonderful gift that is right here before usours to accept your eternal grace and love. We pray for all our loved ones who are now with you, and we await with joy your promised reward.