Lenten Reflection, Part 1
Lent is a time of sacred reflection. Sometimes, when shalom is hard to reach, it is helpful to be inspired by something else outside of ourselves, something wholly Other. When that moment finally happens, the unlocking of our souls makes space for the birthing of an idea, a concept, or a way to hold onto the life of the Spirit while still remaining riven to the earth upon which we stand.
Today, at the end of my work day just before that moment when dusk begins and the quality of light is like dappled golden shadows upon the surface of the earth, I saw above fields of barren berries a snow-covered mountain rising in splendor, completely white against blue sky. Alas, today I passed it by, hurrying on my way.
I am reminded, if we but spend more awareness on such times, they can surely become opportunities for thin space, for communion with God. Often, these moments are so fleeting, they are like the passing of a hummingbird, easily missed and gone in an instant. Other times, if we are open to the awareness of it, such thin space moments can be experienced a bit longer, like the pausing of a butterfly on a newly open flower. Even more rarely, at least for me, I have been able to enter into such experiences for longer periods of time. It takes a practicing of awareness, an intentional communion, if you will, to let such times fill our souls with God’s presence and illumination.
Lent is one such time to practice more intentional sacred reflection. In Lent, our task is to reach inwards and grasp at the meanings, to realize in our own hearts what is most important, and to live in humble grace as we accept with thanks the lessons we learn. Lent is like the winter of the soul; a time of preparation for the Springtime Easter that is yet to come. Light is blooming earlier each day and dissolves softly into night later each evening.
Day is done, gone the sun, from the lake, from the hills, from the sky; all is well, safely rest, God is nigh.
I have often maintained that we must learn from each bright and shining dream that dissolves into mist, from each castle in the sand that we create from those same mists. Sometimes, as the mist clears and the dream is gone, we are stronger. Sometimes, we must let the moment be a baptism of sorts as our tears fall down to water the tender young shoots of spring green reaching for Light and Warmth from Above.
Through Lenten reflection we are given a chance to look back at the accumulation of events of our life in the year past, then take the next step forward. In this journey, we are not alone; there has been a Pioneer that has walked this path before us.
Did not Christ come preaching his dream, the reality of the Kingdom of God as he wished it to be? Did not Christ come and teach how to recognize and enact the Reign of God to his disciples and thence forward unto us in this time and place? Did not Christ, Immanuel, God-with-us live upon this visited planet for a time in person among us? Fear not to look at the world in which we live, at the world we have maintained since that time. In all our frailty as imperfect human beings stumbling through this life, we are still empowered to make choices to begin again, to return to the ancient paths and ancient skies.
We can still choose to live the dream, enact the Way, and live into the life of the Christ; to live lives of repentance, forgiveness, and to set out anew. We may not be perfect at it, but we have, as scripture reminds us, this treasure in clay jars. We are clay, oh yes and some of us are chipped, cracked, and in need of the potter’s remaking hand. But we are still, each of us, a vessel for the indwelling of the Spirit of God.
Jesu go before us, Jesu come after us, Jesu walk with us; every step of the way. Amen.