This week, I am doing a rather hasty blog entry…mostly to put out some questions. For myself, mostly – and for anyone who might like to chime in. (By email, in person, or…here). About the sermon topic this (and coming weeks). And on a few other items from the bag of miscellany.

But first, a quick little advertisement…. One reason this is a rather hasty entry is that I finally decided on my spiritual discipline for Lent, and it’s been taking some of my blogging bandwidth. This year, I’m adding something rather than subracting – rather than fasting from. So I’m reading Dante. Inferno. And I decided it’d be fun to blog about it with my lit friends. Check it out if you’d like to journey with us. A canto a day (keeps the demons away) – a daily investment of about 15 minutes to read the canto, and read the daily blog reflection. I and four other friends are sharing in this enterprise.

And…about the sermon topic this Sunday: Prayer. What is it? How does it work? Is it just for our sake, or does the one to whom we address it “listen”, and “speak”? And if it is indeed communication, how does that work?

This Sunday I will be dealing with a rather odd text, Abraham and this rather strange (to us) ceremony with dead animals in Genesis 15. And Jake, our Poet in Residence (he’s just been promoted), will also weigh in with a poem.

The idea here is that prayer really is at heart communication. We should remember that this word is also where we get the word communion. It is a thing that enables two beings, two “thous” to interact. And in interacting, to know change, growth, love. Connection. Communion.

But how? This week’s sermon will be a meditation on the question: if God speaks, how do we listen?

I’d love your insights: what is prayer for you? And more precisely, Does God speak to you? How?

And, finally – each of the sermons I’ll be doing in Lent – three of them prior to Palm Sunday – will deal with the theme of prayer: what is it? Why is it? How do we do it? I’ll be using the lectionary texts as the lens through which to look at those questions – and the final one in the series will be a dialogue sermon with my colleague Louise. Stay tuned!

Blog format. OK, apropos of nothing, here’s another question. I really like doing the discipline of a weekly blog. And love when people read and actually respond. But I’ve gotten a lot more responses in person and by email, than I do here. The Dante blog I started this week is with another service called WordPress. I like it a LOT more than this service. Main thing is that it’s easier for people to respond – you don’t have to sign in and use a password and whatnot. Thinking of moving this blog there (which, lo and behold, is possible). Anyone out there care to comment?

Blog format, part 2. Last question. Someone suggested to me that I might try – and that it might be better – changing the approach to the sermon blog. Namely, the suggestion was to make this blog about the weekly sermon after (instead of before) it is delivered – as a means for people to comment, seek clarification; and a way for me to backtrack, nuance, and weasel (kidding). In many ways, I really like that idea. May be trying it sometime soon.

Blessed days, anyone reading this. May Lent be a time of spiritual fruitfulness, as you spend some time in the wilderness.