Preparing for Ash Wednesday

Feb 9, 2016 by

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This last weekend I spent a lot of time getting myself ready for Lent. I de-cluttered my desk, re-organized my prayer gardens and wrote an Ash Wednesday prayer.

At the beginning of a new liturgical season, this organizing of my special space has become an important practice for me and one that I would highly recommend to everyone. Interweaving spiritual symbols that speak to us of the liturgical season with objects that are meaningful in our daily lives is a powerful way to find renewed intimacy in our faith.

I love to combine spiritual symbols with images from the garden and then apply a little creativity that helps focus my spiritual practices each morning. Sometimes I wander around the house mulling over my chosen theme for the season, looking for objects that draw my attention. My little corner is always enhanced by familiar objects like photos or shells that remind me of past experiences, family and friends.

Now I invite you to create your own sacred space for Lent. It doesn’t need to be a large space. Mine is just the corner of my desk.

Read through the post Seven Tips for Creating Sacred Space for Lent. Where would you like to conduct your spiritual observances this year? Sit in your space for a while and visualize what you would like to do. What religious symbols help you focus at this season? What other objects would enhance your space?

Add a dose of creativity

I love the stability that practicing the seasons of the church calendar gives to my faith, but I also love to mess with tradition and create new symbols that have special meaning for my own life. The freedom to be creative in this way and express who I am and who God has created me to be has brought new areas of healing and wholeness to me.

This year, setting up my sacred space was a bit of a struggle. I didn’t want to let go of the mantra begin with gratitude, focus on hope, celebrate with joy, with which I have started each morning since the start of the year but I did want to embrace symbols that spoke specifically to me about the season of Lent, especially drawing on those we created for our Lenten guide, Hungering for Life.

So I ended up with two gardens — one thriving, succulent garden that has seen me through the seasons of Advent and Epiphany and which will continue to focus me until after Easter, the other a new “garden” with just one plant — an air plant that will (hopefully) thrive and slowly flower as Easter draws close.

The really liberating thing was the creative exercise of arranging my gardens, painting my rocks and and making it very much my own space. This corner very definitely belongs to me and to God and I know it will be a place of special encounters, discovery and growth over the coming weeks. And that will probably result in the creation of new prayer poems that further enhance my experience.

What is your response?

Creating a place where we encounter God in an intimate and meaningful way is often a very intentional exercise. What creative gifts is God stirring within you to use as you prepare your sacred space for this season? How could you express these to enhance your space and make it a place of special encounter with God?

Christine Sine is executive director of Mustard Seed Associates, a small organization founded by her and her husband, Tom Sine, to assist churches and Christian organizations to engage the challenges of the 21st century. She writes at God Space, where this post originally appeared.

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