Tuesday, March 30, 2010

ROBERT I think the only fair answer is, um . . . .

I think the only fair answer is, um, Yes and, um, No. An answer you will like and another you will like even better.
The long term answer is No, you cannot start Lent over again, or at least not this year. Whatever promises you could not keep or time you did not make sacred with your attentiveness, whatever offerings you did not give or oblations you could not make — the time has come and gone for those special Lenten devotions, as the Church calls such things. At least for this Lent.
‘There is only now,’ Thomas Merton writes.
The good news is that the Story will be told again, and you and I and all the rest of the communion of saints — those who have become saints already and those of us who are merely saints in the making, like the two of us and everyone still here in the kingdom that has already come — all of us will have a chance, God willing, to make a Lenten journey again next year.
Be not afraid of your failures in this season just past. Make your confession, go to sleep, and ‘rise again in the morning to serve the Lord,’ is what the old prayerbooks advise.
Remember, the life we live is not a contest to see if we can qualify to be with God some fine day, it is a gift we are given so that we might come to know God on this day we have been given.

The short term answer, — the Yes — is that the most significant starting over moment in the history of the universe, for all time past and all time to come, will be celebrated at Easter. God willing, you and I will be among the celebrants.
If it helps you to call it a reset, feel free to do so.
I prefer to think of it as time, long past time really, as Merton writes, to set aside our ‘awful solemnity and join in the general dance.’
Thanks be to God, either way — Thanks be to God.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

BEN : Is it possible to hit the rewind button . . . .

Is it possible to hit the rewind button and start Lent again?
It sounds like a strange question, I know. But in a day and time when everything seems to be on-demand, being forced into an ancient rhythm that doesn’t allow for play, stop, pause, or rewind is strangely unfamiliar.
I should know better and be more disciplined. I feel very scattered and stretched as I attempt the daily feat of meeting the pace of the life that I’ve been given. While I long to find spans of silence, I eagerly await moments of intense awareness of a Creator and a dimension that exists beyond my own world.
The difficult balance of being made in the image of God is not allowing ourselves to believe we are “little gods” and, thus, the center of all existence. The Lenten experience refreshes our practice in the reality we are not god at all. In fact, there isn’t a time when that difference is more present than during this season.

So how do I interpret an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present God in an on-demand world? I certainly can’t escape God. That’s that story of Jonah. He ran as far and as fast from God as he thought possible but ended up running right into Him. Perhaps in my attempt to press play, stop, pause, or rewind throughout this season, I, too, will find God waiting for me.

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent,
for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.