Today's mediation was Psalm 25. "Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths" and "Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions" and "all the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness."
Lent is always a great unknown for me. I don't know where I am when I set out, and I don't know where I'm going. I'm new at this, my family is new at this, we are all serious about it but in varying ways. Bp. Wright surprised me when I turned the page in his little book to read: "Experience of past Lents suggests that it can be a time when those who take it seriously find that, like the early explorers, they are going out into a country they don't know, full of unforeseen hazards as well as glorious possibilities."
How did he know?! Oh, right, it's N. T. Wright. He then recognizes four "hostile forces" listed in the psalm that can derail us:
- Shame when we mess up (verses 2, 3),
- Remembering our past sins (verse 7)
- Loneliness (verse 16)
- And other "troubles of the heart" (verse 17)
Cuts me to the heart and invigorates, I am meeting all four of these things head on. And this is why it's Lent. "Spring time." We are preparing for Resurrection Sunday, quick -- so much in disarray. This is why everyone should take this seriously, because when else are you going to, of your own initiative, fast and pray for such a length of time and in such earnestness because God loves you? This and Advent are my favorite times of year. Get to work and get cleaning, make things shine, scour yourself, what else could you possibly be doing?!
"And do you know, do you know that mankind can live without the Englishman, it can live without Germany, it can live only too well without the Russian man, it can live without science, without bread, and it only cannot live without beauty, for then there would be nothing at all to do in the world! The whole secret is here, the whole of history is here. Science itself would not stand for a minute without beauty."
-- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Possessed