Goodness, it’s felt like a long week.  Probably because last weekend wasn’t exactly relaxing, but I can’t really complain.  Friday night was the funeral of one of our dear priests, and Saturday morning was the memorial liturgy, followed by the burial and a meal.  All of that gives you plenty of time to grieve and remember and sing – first church music, then the meal and remembrances ended up feeling dominated by music, which is perfectly fine with me.  Apparently, once you’ve been through all those services with a group of people, standing in the church basement in a circle holding hands and singing “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Amazing Grace” is no longer a hokey thing to do.  And no matter how solemn and sad the occasion, fourteen or so priests coming out of the altar like out of a clown car will always be funny.  Memory eternal, Fr. David.

And now we must get on with Lent.  I’m trying to go to at least one extra service each week.  We were discussing how to observe Lent during kindergarten Sunday School a few weeks ago (as in, trying to prod the younguns to think about it for five minutes) and talking about things you could do or things your family does.  Answers ranged from “going to church more” to “not eating yogurt” (although one young man was hilariously upset about the lack of cheeseburgers during Lent) to “praying for people.”  I think they got it.  It reminded me, though, that I end to focus on the fasting and let other things slip – I do go to more services, but sometimes it’s just so much easier to come home and relax and eat some rice and beans.

Like the dork that I am, I was poking around in my own archives and found a few things that still rang true about Lent – there’s one about fasting (was that really five years ago?) that I still like, and I think the joy thing comes bit by bit, year by year.  A little more each time.  It’s not easy, but I still want to see it through.

This year I noticed two times that we sing Easter/Paschal music outside of that season – there’s Forgiveness Vespers, which kickstart Lent, where the choir sings some of (I think) the Paschal matins as we all go around begging forgiveness, and some of the same music at the funeral, with a few rounds of “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death” as we finish the funeral procession.  There’s some music that you just associate so much with a certain mood (whatever that music or mood is) and then hearing it in different contexts can put a different spin on it.  I love that.

Back to books & recipes before too long.

(Photos from two previous years – the church after Agape Vespers and the remains of a red egg.)