Are you ready for the Lenten discipline of celebrating those who have gone before?
— by Tom Sine —
“Ashes to ashes” are the words I heard again on Ash Wednesday last week as my pastor placed an ash cross on my forehead. As I turn 77 this week I am much more aware of my mortality than I was a decade ago.
Christine led a very inspirational retreat called Return to Our Senses in Lent at our home last Saturday with a few MSA friends. It was during this session that I discovered a new way of reflecting on my own mortality… expressing my deep appreciation to God for family members, friends and mentors that have added so much to my life.
Those of us who knew Richard Twiss were shocked by his unexpected death while attending the Presidential Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC. We pray for the huge loss Richard’s death will have particularly for his family. Those of us who knew him are deeply grateful for his life of service to Christ and his strong prophetic voice to call us all out of the values of the dominant culture to embrace a more biblical faith.
I start every morning by inviting the great family beginning with Abraham and Sarah to join me in my prayers. On Saturday at our Lenten Retreat I focused on my mortality by giving thanks for family, friends and mentors that have joined that great family. I started by expressing my deep gratitude for my dear parents Tom whom I lost in 1990 and Katherine in 1995. My hardest loss was my son Clint in 2006. But I still celebrate his good life and memories of camping at Baker Lake and touring the UK.
In the last 5 years I also lost two of my most significant mentors from my student days at Cascade College in the 50s…Grace and Lee Nash. Grace helped a young man who had little prospect of succeeding in college get his life organized. Lee was so affirming as I became an author and so gracious when I fell on my face.
Edward Lindeman came as President to Whitworth College in 1970 as I arrived in Seattle to start my doctorate at the University of Washington. He was easily the most creative college educator I ever met. He had headed the Apollo Space Craft Project and mentored me researching and writing about the future.
Frank Herbert author of the Dune series was the first professor in my doctoral program at the UW in 1971 in a course on Utopia and Dystopia. We continued to be friends and he was a valued mentor in my life and writing after he and Beverly moved to Port Townsend to create what he called a high level of “techno-peasantry.”
Just a few weeks ago I joined hundreds of people in the most multi-cultural event I have ever attended in Seattle as we celebrated the life of Cal Uomoto. I had known Cal since the early 70s . I can’t remember having a friend that was a more self effacing servant of Jesus than Cal. Over his lifetime thousands of refugees from all over the planet experienced his care and hospitality.
As you reflect on your own mortality during this season of Lent will you write and tell me some of those whose lives you are celebrating?
Check out Christine’s Lenten posts at www.godspace.wordpress.com and her new book: Return to Our Senses.