Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Words and Names in a New Season

There is a practice in most lectionary/liturgical churches like the Episcopal Church to refrain from using "alleluias" during the season of Lent.  With so much of our devotional focus being drawn through penitence those familiar expressions of exuberance, joy and release are at best premature.
This matters in particular this year because we are soon to be clear of several encumbering concerns which when completed will properly deserve our own celebratory expressions:
  • The Patio* is quickly becoming the smooth safe connector from our parking lot to the Parish House ramp.
  • New "same surface" walkways will soon provide safe entry to the "Little House" from the garden patio and the parking lot.
  • Phase one of restoring the parking lot to a regular smooth pea gravel surface.
  • Repair of loose bricks and sealing of the flues in our parish house fireplaces
  • Re-upholstering of the couches and chairs and a fresh coat of paint on the trim in the Parish House parlor.
  • The last day of crew support services for the movie -- St. Agatha -- being filmed at one of the Newton houses down Academy St. As exciting as the hugely increased "energy level" is, it'll be nice to return to a more contemplative environment for Lent.  
The exact end date of each of these efforts is not known in every case but the completion of each as it impacts our weekday lives will soon deserve a finale and in some cases a grand one. 

I hereby ask God to absolve in advance any member of the parish who is heard in celebration or any less-than-Lenten attitude uttering any of the following words or phrases:
  • Alleluia!!
  • Thanks be to God! (with hands raised!)
  • Its about time!
  • Glad that's over!
  • Glory! (with or without an accompanying "alleluia")
  • Sweet Jesus!
  • Praise the Lord!
  • and (especially important to me) What was frDann thinking?

*It is important for us to sustain the memorialization that already graces the areas of what we have turned to calling "the Patio."  It was provided remembering Marie Green Meacham and Elizabeth Wingo Clarke.  

Notice that in both instances the area was understood to be a garden space, not just a patio.  This needs our continued attention.  I'm proposing two responses to this recognition.  First, that we strive to designate and name the area as a "patio garden."  Not only that, we need to include the names Meacham and Clarke in our titling, too.  
Our second response should be to carefully establish and maintain attractive plantings in the areas inside the walls that remain around the garden patio.  I expect some short conversations with interested parishioners to help us find the right people to get that to happen.  

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