Lent is starting today. I’ve known for a while that it’s coming (you know… being a pastor and all). And I’ve been wondering what these 40 days before Easter will bring to my soul.
A few weeks ago, Alana Levandoski emailed her Patreon supporters a song called Hymn from the Desert, about how sometimes the desert shapes us. That same day, one of my kids brought home a Dr. Seuss book about deserts. I could name this as coincidence. Or I could name it as something divine. (Actually, does it really matter?)
I found the word desert to be a good word to sit with, as I sense that I may be in one. Just a little one, but something feels off a bit inside me. Maybe it’s the cold and dark of winter. Maybe it’s a full schedule. Maybe it’s the expectations I feel others have of me. And maybe it’s because it’s been 3 months since the sudden, tragic death of a loved one and grief is an unpredictable beast. I’m having a hard time precisely naming it, other than knowing it’s there.
So I’ve settled on the word desert.
And in the desert, one is thirsty.
Thirsty for rain. Thirsty for living water. Thirsty for life.
“Lent is an opportunity to give up something is sucking the life out of us so we can be filled with God, with life, with love again.” – Shane Claibornne
So I have asked myself two questions:
- What gives life?
- What takes away life?
So, I’m going to wake up early and practice Centering Prayer, followed by working through Walter Brueggemann’s book A Way Other Than Our Own. I’ve done this in the past, so I know I find life in these spiritual practices (We’ll see if my kids will blow out my candle each morning again).
And to make up for the lost sleep (since that takes away life), I’ll do my best to head to bed early (it’s a good thing Easter is early this year so this won’t affect the Jets making the playoffs).
40 days. That doesn’t seem too hard, does it? Maybe one of the beautiful things about Lent is that it’s only 40 days, so I have a definite goal to work towards (unlike those pesky New Years resolutions, which have no end date other than when we quit 5 days in).
Maybe I’ll find life in the desert. Maybe I won’t. Either way, I’m looking forward to the next 40 days, as I’m quite sure God can be found in the desert too.
Grace and Peace,