Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lent Begins

Dear Friends,

Most years during Lent I make it a practice to engage in some kind of daily spiritual discipline: reading and reflection, creating small collages, drawing my prayers. I usually take this time in the early morning with a cup of tea in hand, but not this year.

At home right now the living room is filled with our belongings from two basement rooms. As I write this, the drywall contractors sling mud and then scrape, and sling more mud and then scrape. They go away, wait for it to dry, and begin again the next day. 
When the project is finished we will have a clean, bright, office space as well as a room set aside for art, sewing, weaving, and meditation. However, right now we live in a state of chaos: file folders nestle up against watercolor paper while the warping board for the loom keeps company with the grandchildren’s art supplies. If a desired object is not on top of the pile then finding it is hopeless. This is not how I anticipated the beginning of Lent.

As Ruth, Kate, and I met to think and pray, to plan for Lent, and as we read over the lectionary texts we eventually came to notice a theme of God’s persistent covenant that ran through all the readings from the Hebrew Scriptures. It seemed to us that focusing on God’s covenant could offer us a lens from which to view our life together as a community of faith and lead us through Lent. Eventually we settled on a simple phrase as our theme: Come, let us walk with God.

This is what I like about the theme: it is invitational; it implies movement in a common direction; and it suggests a deepened relationship between our community and God that could grow in meaning and in depth as we walk along together.

In the process of our walk together we might wonder:

+ What if God actually wants to walk with me?

+ If I open myself to that possibility what new paths might I discover? How might my self-perceptions change?

+ How do my attitudes toward others create a heart “two sizes too small”?  

+What would be different if I softened my heart toward others so that—when in doubt or even when I have no cause to doubt—I might extend grace more often than judgment?

Perhaps, like our living room, things in your life have piled up over the winter or over several years. Now might be the perfect time to begin again, to toss out what no longer serves you and set out on a journey of the heart. Will you join me on the path?

Perhaps this Lent our daily discipline might be to take a walk together with God in order to explore our surroundings with curiosity and wonder. I’m not imagining anything special or difficult. Just find a time when you will normally walk from one place to the next, pause for a moment and notice, come home to your body and your breath, remember your heart and reconnect with God’s love for us, for this astonishing world. It will be enough.

Blessings + peace,