Though I am still processing and thinking through all of my plans, I do know that I want my focus to be on "Being still". Even though I try to live my life as s-l-o-w-l-y as possible, during this season I want to be even more intentional with regard to listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit. I have a number of big decisions to make and some habits and routines that I have been unsuccessful in establishing that I hope to settle and put in place between now and Easter. I still have not heard specifically from the Holy Spirit regarding what I am to give up, and while I have a number of things in mind that I personally know would be worthy, I do want specific direction before I make a final decision.
With that, since Ash Wednesday is coming up this week, I did want to share a few traditions that I will be observing during this season.
Though Lent doesn't officially begin until Wednesday, I am going to be following along with a devotional from She Reads Truth, You Are Mine, which is on one of my favorite books of the Bible, Isaiah! I didn't buy the books (shown in the link), because you can follow along for FREE on their website! Though I don't see a direct link yet, the current study is just wrapping up so I'm sure the links to the Lenten study will be available tomorrow morning!
On Tuesday morning I will most likely make myself a nice breakfast with pancakes and sausage. No one else here is particularly fond of pancakes, though Kate likes them occasionally, so I will be sure to check with her first before I decide. If she wants some as well, then we will have breakfast for dinner. If you'd like to learn more about the tradition of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, you can follow this link. Fish Eaters has been one of the best resources I've found for explaining the liturgical year, whether you are Catholic or Protestant.
Another tradition I will observe on Tuesday evening is burying or hiding the Alleluia. If you'd like to learn more about this custom here is an article that I think explains it well. I find it very reflective to abstain from saying the Alleluia during lent, as it is a more somber time of reflection than Advent, but also not speaking it until Easter morning only adds to the excitement and anticipation of Christ's resurrection. As with giving something up during Lent, it is good, I believe, to give things a rest at times. I read this in an old journal I was thumbing through earlier this week, and though I can't remember where I originally read it, I love how it expresses the concept behind abstaining from things during Lent.
"When we retire something familiar for a season, recovering its use has a way of making it "new" for us. It has a way of giving emphasis to what precedes and follows it. Taking a rest from something gives shape and rhythm to life, to worship, to relationships, even to our relationship with God."
For my Alleluia this year I make a small banner that I'll be hiding away in a pretty shear white bag until the eve before Easter when I will string it from a length of purple ribbon and then hang it up on Easter morning. I am going to share this here in case any of you would like to take part in this small but meaningful observance as well. You will find the graphics with instructions for making your own banner at the end of this post.
Another thing I hope to do is to make my crown of thorns wreath. If you want to know more about this, I originally found the idea here. Though I don't remove thorns anymore, I like to have it out as a visual reminder of Christ's sacrifice and the significance of this season. I know I packed this when we moved, but since we moved during Lent last year I didn't observe any of our traditions.
I will also be purchasing some purple taper candles as I have another idea that I am tossing around in my head, but I'm going to save that for a separate post. I hope to post a lot this week and share my plans with you as they unfold.
And finally, I'll be praying The Stations of the Cross every Friday morning. I will write more on this later, and I've made a set of lovely cards for that as well, so I'll be sure to post it before Friday. My observance is a little different than the traditional 14 stations, so I'll be explaining the reasoning behind that, too.
And with that, below are the graphics for the Alleluia banner, or bunting, as some call them! I hope you enjoy them!
To make your banner:
Click on each image below to enlarge, then right click and save to your computer.
Print each set on card stock and cut them out.
You can then either glue them to a piece of ribbon or string them with ribbon or twine by making a small hole at each end.
I plan to print my set and cut them out, but I am going to bury the letters unstrung and then string them with a pretty ribbon on the night before Easter.