We are accustomed to thinking of Lent as a journey–a journey of penitence and perspectives, of crosses and crossings, of giving up and giving over. But in those times that we dare to stand still, to really think about things, to really contemplate the place to which we’ve walked, what then? Then Lent is a space through which we look beyond–beyond Lent, beyond the cross, beyond ourselves, beyond to what it is that we will become once this season has ended.
We 21st century journeyers not only want to know where we’re going; we also want to get there–fast!. We are not really programmed to just stand still and look through something. We’d rather keep moving, even though some of the steps along this road are painful. At least when we’re moving, we have some sense of control, some sense that we can change things–if we only keep moving. But when we stop–when we stand still–it is as if all the control leaves us. We stand, exposed to the elements, vulnerable to others who are comfortably and successfully moving through life, and suddenly acutely, and often painfully, aware of our own place on the journey.
And yet, part of Lent and part of life is indeed about standing still. A journey is seldom completed with constant motion. We are just not made for that. (You can look up that seventh day concept when you have time!) Sometimes we are meant to move; sometimes we are meant to stand still and savor what God has shown us. Behold! There is the cross. There you are. And if you stand still long enough, you will be able to look through and see where you are headed. We are not called to walk blindly into the unknown, never looking, never questioning, never contemplating where we are or where we’re going or where we’ve been; we are called to journey toward that which God has illumined in our lives. So stop–stand still–and look through it all. Behold! And then start walking again…
Grace and Peace on the Journey–the walking and the standing,
Picture: Capernaum, Israel (February, 2010)