I am here at the doorstep of Easter.
It is Holy Week, a time of soaking in the core story of our faith; the hope of hopes; the greatest love story ever lived.
It is a sacred space of days to examine what I believe, who I believe in, and what that actually means in terms of how I choose to live each day.
It is a good time to sift through the disciplines of the past five weeks—those golden practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that should urge me to get out of my head and my constant self-concerns.
Lent arrived wrapped in challenges.Today was no different as the suffering of friends and acquaintances came in torrents.There continues to be much to take to prayer and that is good.
As I wrestle with these issues in quiet and prayer, I come back to where I began this season of listening and awareness of God’s invitation to grow.
My story, my experiences are not so different from anyone else’s. We all engage life challenges, everyday choices, moments or hours of anxiety, relationships that sing or go sour. This is the stuff of life.
Lent gives this “stuff” a lens, a focus, an impetus.
But what would be my “practice”? A particular prayer form? A physical fast? An attitudinal fast? In other words, what would be my Lenten focus?
As Lent approached, I felt invited to empty myself of some attitude, action, regret, or habit so as to be filled with healing and growth. Each day in the quiet, I was blessed with a new level of empty-ness, and a renewed hope of fullness. These questions, examines, and prayers were my fasting, my almsgiving, my prayer.
And now, five weeks later, at the doorstep of Easter, it is time to examine my labors and study the fruit:
Am I a more faithful disciple of Christ? Has my heart grown in mercy and compassion? Have I emptied myself of the nagging regrets life can bring, so as to be filled instead with the love and peace of God?
I can answer both yes and no, yet my better sense says I am on a forward path, nurturing good fruit along the way.
My examination of the season lands me back here, in Holy Week.
In prayer, my sense is to let the quiet that is God’s gentle hand, lead me through this week.
My heart resounds with a certitude that:
- There will be surprises.
- Trust the walk.
- Hold the hand that loves you.
- Let the Spirit fill the spaces that I might otherwise cram full of needless anxiety.
It is Holy Week.
There will be suffering.
There will be death.
There will be New Life.
And that is good.
I will rejoin the blogosphere next Monday. May this week—however you honor it—be holy.