Preparing to Bloom

February 10, 2016

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA
Ash Wednesday  
Isaiah 58:1-12; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

As many of you know, I lived in Houston, Texas most of my life. As with any city or town, Houston has its own unique rhythms, customs and colloquialisms that aren’t readily understood by outsiders. Not surprisingly, Atlanta and Georgia have their own, too, so when I moved here 6 years ago, I had a bit of a learning curve.

One of the things that I quickly discovered is that Liquor Stores are called Package Stores, but I didn’t know why. The name seemed so vague to me. So, one day I asked the guy behind the counter, “Why do they call this a Package Store, and not a Liquor Store?” lsHe explained that in Georgia, liquor laws differentiate sales based on whether it is bought by the drink (by the glass) or by the package (by the bottle). Thus, the Package Store.

Since then, I’ve shared this tid-bit of knowledge with others. For many, even life-long Georgians, this was a revelation. They had no clue where the term Package Store came from, and frankly, never even thought about it. And that’s okay. There’s no requirement to know. It doesn’t change anything, really.

But, in the same way, many of us who grew up in the church, certainly in the Episcopal tradition, have encountered and lived with words and practices that we don’t really know the context for, we just do them. Lent can be one of those times.   Read the rest of this entry »

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