14 Feb 2018

The Fast Before the Feast

The Lenten fast is often neglected or misunderstood. But this season offers the time and place to make us freer and stronger.   There’s a reason why fasting sounds exhausting. There’s a reason why people feel uncomfortable just envisioning a forty-day stretch of abstaining from certain foods or activities. The Lenten season is, after all, a long and tiring period for its participants. It’s hard. That becomes clear in the last days of Lent—the days

Guest Author 0
27 Feb 2015

A Chalice Remade

Well-worn, chestnut-coloured floorboards creak beneath the many feet entering the hushed room. A reverent quiet is—mostly—kept, it is a time of preparation for the special yearly observance. My friend and I arrive early, a rarity for me, to settle our hearts and minds for the Ash Wednesday service. Yet my mind is awhirl, reflecting on the day’s conversations, expectations, frustrations, and disappointments. In spite of outward tranquility, my thoughts are uneasy. Without sound or ceremony,

Johanna Byrkett 2
27 Feb 2015

The Hidden Drama of Late Winter

For years I’ve dreaded February as one of the hardest months of the year. Maybe it’s because Christmas cheer is by now a distant fog, or because the weather acts like a hard-bitten old man. Maybe it’s because of inner maladies—winter blues and the like. February was my personal season of spiritual crisis for some time. I recently learned that early February is part of the liturgical season of Epiphany. Not having grown up paying

Guest Author 0
18 Feb 2015

Rising from Ruin

Ash Wednesday Reflections   Tonight, ashes smear Across my face From priest’s thumb— Sin’s dark drear Mingled with oil Leaves a smudge On my skin And my soul   Last year’s palms Burn deep upon My flesh and In my memory— All I see Is ashen, grey, Charred remains of Promises and dreams I peer inside At my soul Crumbling to coals Dead and lifeless— Not a spark Or an ember Of élan appears To

Johanna Byrkett 2