Friday, March 6, 2009

Lenten Refuge

It sounds strange to say there is comfort in Lent and its rituals but in this time of discontinuity I find comfort in some church traditions. The daily devotional, the color purple, litanies of confession and assurance of pardon and a weekly chorus that reminds of God's presence. Yet many of these are rituals available to us all year long so why the feeling of having returned to a comfortable place? I'm not really sure. Perhaps it is tied to the longer days of sunlight (even tho the dreaded daylight savings is coming far too early THIS weekend!) Or waking up to birdsong and seeing the crocuses pop up through the moist dirt. Maybe it all comes together in this season of Lent to give comfort in the familiar in the midst of crisis all around.

I listen to the radio more now that I drive in traffic for an hour to get into the church and every day there are more reports of closings, lay-offs, bankruptcy, and the market falling, falling. It is unfamiliar territory to most of us, but when I talk to some of our older members, they remember. Just this week I spoke to someone who graduated in the years of depression before World War I. She encouraged schooling for those who can do it with the words,
"No one can take education away from you. Your savings, retirement, all may go, but a degree and the knowledge you gain..well, they can't take that away."
Yet I look and see a full and good life and know she made it through. Maybe I am taking comfort in Lent because it is a time we go through every year. With added ritual and sacrificial practices we are to turn away from self and look at the bigger picture. For Christians, and descendants of Abraham, the bigger picture is God at work in the world. And our God has covenanted to be with us and in fact is IN us and is here everywhere we turn.

I guess the comfort in following Jesus' journey during Lent, knowing his crisis is the story of Lent, brings comfort and reassures me that we too will live through this time and even through death into a time of renewal and resurrection.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are they who trust in him! Psalm 34:8

1 comment:

Paula said...

I enjoyed your reflections, and have often thought about these younger generations. Those of us who were born after the World Wars, after Vietnam. It is hard to imagine real hardship when we grew up with only looming threats. It's tempering and humbling to be faced with new hardship; but reassuring to know that the Greatest Generation made it through fine, and have much to teach us all.