Friday, March 7, 2014

Lent III

Those who remember "The Invitation to Observe a Holy Lent"  from a few days ago will remember that it invited us to enter into a time of self-examination.  These early days of the Lenten season are filled with the sight of black smudged ashes on the forehead and the experience of standing toe-to-toe with someone who looks us in the eye just before saying, "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return."   There is little wiggle room in that close personal encounter with someone who tells us we are going to die.  It is hard to walk away with the flippant attitude toward life that we carried with us to the place where the ashes waited.
Such a moment begs for self-examination.   What have I done with my life?  More importantly, what am I doing with it?  If I am going to die, then, how should I live?  What does it mean to live while waiting to die?  How do I decide what is worth the price of the energy of my life for the days which remain?  How can I go on living with those who love me without giving those relationships more, maybe even some, attention and care?  What does God think about the way I am living?   How comfortable am I with God being in the midst of all the details of my life?  Will I continue with business as usual in my living, or shall I really move toward radical change?
And, how great it would be if those were all the questions which rise out of heartfelt times of self-examination!  It is not a one size fits all.  While we may all share some of the same issues in our life, it is certainly true that each one of us carries different questions and issues into our times of self-examination.   The direction honesty with self takes us is surely as different we are different.  Lent invites us to carve out some chunks of time for this hard work of the soul.  Ah, but who will really go there and linger until this work of the heart is not started , but done?

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