Lent & Easter
Lent is the season leading up to Easter, during which many Christians remember Jesus’ suffering by fasting, reading the Bible, and praying. My family often gives up screens for this time; however, we decided not to this year because of the quarantine. We don’t watch things much anyway, but it certainly helps to be able to turn on a show or movie occasionally when you’re stuck at home with nothing to do.
We still observed Lent, though, by praying and reading the Bible and remembering Jesus’ suffering. If you’ve never tried it before, mark your calendar for 2021 and get ready to more fully appreciate what Jesus did for you.
I’m writing this post on Good Friday, the day Jesus died. It’s a pretty somber day (made a bit more lighthearted by the fact that we’ll be watching church on the TV in our pajamas). I truly love feeling more connected to Jesus’ sorrow. He died on a cross (an incredibly painful way to die — try watching The Passion of the Christ) for me.
Go to dark Gethsemane
All who feel the tempter’s power
Your Redeemer’s conflict see
Watch with Him one bitter hour
Turn not from His griefs away
Learn from Jesus Christ to pray
Follow to the judgment hall
View the Lord of life arraigned
Oh, the wormwood and the gall
Oh, the pangs His soul sustained
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss
Learn from Him to bear the cross
Calvary’s mournful mountain climb
There, adoring at His feet
Mark that miracle of time
God’s own sacrifice complete
“It is finished!” hear Him cry
Learn from Jesus Christ to die
// Henry Montgomery, “Go to Dark Gethsemane” verses 1-3 (public domain) //
But when you read this, it’ll be Easter Monday, and we’ll all be joyfully celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. There are many Easter hymns I could share with you, but I’ll stick to two:
Early hasten to the tomb
Where they laid His breathless clay
All is solitude and gloom
Who has taken Him away?
Christ is risen! He meets our eyes
Savior, teach us so to rise
// Henry Montgomery, “Go to Dark Gethsemane” verse 4 (public domain) //
“Is He Worthy?” by Andrew Peterson (one of my favorite songs for every season, but especially Easter):
I’ve read 50 books this year! I think that may be the most I’ve read in three months, at least for a long time. This is partially due to the fact that I’ve reread several fast-paced series, and partially because of the quarantine. It messed up the rest of my life, but at least I’ve been reading.
Here are some of my favorite books so far this year:
Ender/Bean series by Orson Scott Card (A reread — I read these ones for the first time in 2018 and 2019, but decided to go through them again when my sister picked them up for the first time. I discovered again my intense love for them, and also that plenty of people do not share it. At least not my sister, whom I love very much and do not blame for this lack of intense love.)
Someday stars will wind down or blow up. Someday death will cover us all like the water of a lake and perhaps nothing will ever come to the surface to show that we were ever there. But we WERE there, and during the time we lived, we were alive. That’s the truth — what is, what was, what will be — not what could be, what should have been, what never can be.
// from Children of the Mind //
The Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Due to my mentioning this series in almost every post I’ve written since I read them, I think you can ascertain that I adore it.)
The heart is a peculiar thing. It sees and interprets details long before the brain has started to think there might be something worth noticing. The brain resents this skill, however, and will often spitefully do all it can to repress what the heart might be whispering.
// from Shadow Hand //
Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery (Another reread, for the sheer joy of Montgomery’s descriptions and how hard I ship Anne and Gilbert.)
We came to the comforting conclusion that the Creator probably knew how to run His universe quite as well as we do, and that, after all, there are no such things as “wasted” lives, saving and except when an individual wilfully squanders and wastes his own life.
// from Anne’s House of Dreams //
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (Reread. I told my mom I ought to get a credit in government or economics for how much I learned about capitalism, unions, and markets — and enjoyed myself doing it.)
Loyalty and obedience to wisdom and justice are fine; but it is still finer to defy arbitrary power, unjustly and cruelly used — not on behalf of ourselves, but on behalf of others more helpless.
Beauty by Robin McKinley (Yet another reread — which is mostly what I’ve been doing for the past month. I’d forgotten how good this Beauty & the Beast retelling is.)
You will find no mirrors here, for I cannot bear them: nor any quiet water in ponds. And since I am the only one who sees you, why are you not then beautiful?
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (As you can guess: a reread. I’m noticing a lot more this time around.)
This series has many serious, emotional, and morally advisory quotes I could share with you, but in fact, I laughed my way through book five and thought that, considering the circumstances, perhaps you could all use a laugh too.
By all means continue destroying my possessions. I daresay I have too many. // Albus Dumbledore
Never try to understand the students. They hate it. They would much rather be tragically misunderstood, wallow in self-pity, stew in their own — // Phineas Black
You should write a book translating mad things girls do so boys can understand them. // Ron Weasley
Well, usually when a person shakes their head, they mean “no.” So unless Miss Edgecombe is using a form of sign language as yet unknown to humans… // Minerva McGonagall
Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have. // Hermione Granger
Camp NaNo 2020, days 5-10
By the time I post this, it’ll be day 13, but I’m writing it on day 10 so that’s what you get.
On day 5 (Palm Sunday), I wrote a poem on the prompt “Snow Queen.” I don’t much like it, but it’s not long so I’ll share it in its entirety here.
I remember how Anne
Would stand at her window
And smile at the blossoms
And dream of the future
And standing at the sides of the road where you walked
The people laid down their branches and blossoms
To honor you
The next week they’d kill you
And Anne would come home and the tree would be gone
But there is glory in the moment —
So lean out the window and smell the flowers.
Day 6’s prompt was “Grace.” I rather like this one. Here’s the first stanza:
Beating my hands against a wall until they bleed
Falling to my knees, bloody and broken
And hearing a voice whispering
Daughter, I see your grief
Day 7 was “History.” I wrote something… strange.
Jesus, when you walked to Calvary
Were you thinking of me? Maybe?
Of the future church who’d follow
You wherever you would have us go
(Well, sometimes we get lost —
But I know you’re searching for us)
And I wonder, sometimes, Lord
What you were thinking.
I hope you remembered how much I love you.
And what I’d be if you hadn’t borne that cross.
Jesus, walking ever to the ugly hill
My prayers are for you. I owe you everything.
I wrote four lines for day 8 and nothing (yet) for days 9 and 10. It’s been a crazy couple of days but I’m planning to catch up on the prompts later today.
Days 5 and 6 found Aionladon taking a walk with Taresil. And I discovered that my MC is (possibly) only half human. But I don’t much like what I wrote of that story, and this post is already quite long, so I’ll not share more Remnant today.
Day 7: I started a new story.
Edmund came breathlessly running down the street, his red hair blowing in the wind he’d created, his bronze necklace jangling against the metal clasp of his jacket. “Em! Did you hear — are you going –”
“No, I’m not going to find the singer,” she said. With a jolt she realized she was still sweeping the path. It was the cleanest it had ever been.
“That’s not what I meant,” he said, sighing. “I knew you wouldn’t. But I didn’t know if you heard that he’s going to be preaching out at Beth tomorrow.”
“Mm-hmm. He’s some sort of prophet, I think.”
“Prophecy’s dead, Edmund,” she said, turning to go inside.
“Em — wait — Em, listen. People are saying he’s — Em — they’re saying he’s the Messiah. The Messiah at His second coming.”
“The one where we’re all supposed to be caught up in the air to be with him?” she said sarcastically. “Yep, it’s definitely him.”
“But did you hear his voice, Em –”
“And anyway,” she said harshly, “haven’t you got a magic test to be studying for. All I’ve heard for the past month is how you can’t wait to get your silver. But now that this prophet’s come –”
“Em, I think — I think he’s for real.”
That story is part of an idea I had for a series of stories exploring the life of Jesus in unexpected ways. I’m not sure if I’ll continue it, since I’m a little worried it’s not the best idea to try and have Jesus’ second coming in a fantasy story…
And today I started another new one. I think I’ll carry it on for a while; it’s very interesting.
I walk out to the dining room and grab a piece of toast from the pile Fair’s prepared. “Morning, Finn,” she says. “Morning, Fair,” I reply mindlessly. “You ready for school?”
“Yep,” she says, smiling proudly. I walk over and run my hands through her curly hair — the brushes they sell nowadays never work on it — and wish that she had a chance of success at the school I have to send her to, because I can’t afford anything else. But she doesn’t. She doesn’t have a chance of beating all the kids who have privilege simply because of where they were born and who their parents are.
Fell’s old enough to know now what we stand against. He pretends he doesn’t care, but I know he does. I know he’s as terrified of the system as I am, but we have an unspoken agreement not to tell Fair. Fair’s so young, so innocent and perfect, and we don’t want to spoil her joy too early and tell her the truth.
No, the book is not going to be full of calls to social justice (though that is what I’m trying to make it sound like at this point in the story). I’m going to attempt to subvert expectations and create a scarily accurate vision of the future. We’ll see how it goes.
Ashtown Burials IV
I ran shrieking across the house this morning and collapsed on the floor in the living room almost crying with joy. My family was very confused until I told them that N.D. Wilson is finally planning to release The Silent Bells, book 4 in his Ashtown Burials series. Then they were still confused because, at least for them, it didn’t merit the shrieking.
To love is to be selfless. To be selfless is to be fearless. To be fearless is to strip enemies of their greatest weapon. Even if they break our bodies and drain our blood, we are unvanquished. Our goal was never to live; our goal is to love. It is the goal of all noble men and women. Give all that can be given. Give even your live itself.
But it does. This series is absolutely amazing. It’s the story of Cyrus and Antigone Smith, siblings who are sent on an adventure because a transmortal criminal wants the Dragon’s Tooth — which they have accidentally acquired due to a different criminal leaving it to them in his will, along with membership to a society of explorers. It’s so much fun to read (the titles are The Dragon’s Tooth, The Drowned Vault, and Empire of Bones, plus the new fourth one).
Cowards live for the sake of living, but for heroes, life is a weapon, a thing to be spent, a gift to be given to the weak and the lost and the weary, even to the foolish and the cowardly.
Ah, I love the books so much.
Anyway, NDW is releasing the fourth one in a newspaper serial. You pay $3 for each issue and get them delivered to your house as he writes them. You can find out more at the Ashtown Burials website.
Love burns hotter than justice, and its roar is thunder. Beside love, even wrath whispers.
Go check it out!
–the end of flotsam & jetsam 5–
Until next time!