Lent isn’t about forfeiting as much as it’s about formation. – Ann Voskamp
Easter is in three weeks so we are half-way through Lent. Wow! I feel like I haven’t even started. I’m not doing any of the things I sat out to do, except that my husband and I are saying Evening Prayer together and adding three more minutes to our paying attention prayer that Fr. Jack suggested we all do during Lent.
I couldn’t concentrate on the meditation books that I had planned on using, so I have been reading books by Anne Lamott (sort of like reading a novel on breaks when I was in seminary). In very humorous ways, she writes about her life with Jesus, what a mess she was and still is, and her God directed, ongoing transformational process. She reminds me that I don’t (we don’t) need to have it all together, we just need to stay attached to God and let the Holy Spirit grow us. It’s a life-long process. I know this, but I need to hear it again. And again. Is there something that God is trying to form in me? As Ann Voskamp says above, Lent is not about “giving up”, but about being transformed into the image of Jesus. At least it can be. Silence and Solitude is a very helpful practice for us in transformation. Jesus modeled it often.
There is one event of the last week that really does stand out. Last Saturday, I had things to write. I wanted to attend a class. The house needed cleaning. And I was still very low on energy. My cell phone wouldn’t come on that morning which was a minor irritation, and as I was working on the computer before getting ready to go, the power went out. I heard a big bang and assumed a transformer had blown. It could be a while. I realized that with no power, I had no heat, no house phone – no computer, no way to cook, clean, and I could not get my car out of the garage. I was stuck – no class, no going to the phone store or anything else. You would think that I would have realized that I needed to “pay attention.” What else did I need?
It was amazing how antsy I was. I had to do something; anything. Since I couldn’t do what I had planned, I did cross word puzzles and Sudoku for a couple of hours. I, who am trained and try to help people find solitude in their lives, couldn’t manage to recognize the invitation when it was right there in a dyed in the wool, God-provided, opportunity. During the week the missed invitation became louder. Being still and spending quality time with God in silence is an important spiritual habit. “Be still and know that I am God,” the Bible tells us. Solitude is spending periods of time alone paying attention in prayer, Bible reading, and sometimes with spiritual reading or even walking. It is a time for refreshment, and for transformation. I am fairly certain, this is what I have been invited to do as my Lenten practice with the time left.
Speak, O Lord, as we come to You; to receive the food of Your Holy Word. Take Your truth, plant it deep in us; Shape and fashion us in Your likeness. That the light of Christ might be seen today; In our acts of love and our deeds of faith. Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us; All Your purposes for Your glory.~ Stuart Townend and Keith Getty
Grace & Peace – Donna