Waking Up- Using Lent as a Season of Examination

I find there is great comfort in specificity. So much of what pulls my heart around is more a general sense of something, a nagging disease with some unidentified something, a cloudy shadow of something. But what is it?! Why do I find myself sighing sometimes, or fearing sometimes, or discovering new unhappiness sometimes.

It’s good to ask with the psalmist, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” The psalmist goes right on to hope but I like to wait there for a good long while. I need to be undisturbed. I need to get to the specific things that are causing these feelings. Sometimes it’s impossible. Sometimes I don’t have patience to get there, but Oh, when I do, specificity is hot cocoa and a fireplace on a heart’s wintry night.

During Lent at Circle of Hope we are examining these things which generate so much turmoil for us. We’re waking up to the darkness around us and with in us. We’re holding off the judgment and letting Christ’s resurrection life raise us from the dead–we’e letting Christ’s light shine on the untouched coldness of us and our world.

The specifics of Lent are of the body- like the human body. The real wounds of Jesus are the nail holes in his hands, his speared side, the gauges in his head, and the lash marks on his back. We identify with that suffering for forty days, not in a grotesque or morbid sort of way as some have in my opinion, but following our connection, even body to body. We take on disciplines which remind us in our body to connect with God. Fasting, feeling hungry. Praying, living on more than bread. We take communion every week to ingest something of God symbolically, and to be an actual people united in the remembrance. It all couples very nicely with my call to specificity in the face of angst.

My body is like Jesus’ body. But I eagerly await a new and resurrected body. My hope is not pie in the sky. It is a new left forearm with no screws in it. It is a right ear with no throbbing behind its infected drum. It is illness free and soft skinned. It is glorious and beyond my imagination. I have a specific hope. Jesus made the way for that hope through a specific time and place and a very specific death. I want a world in which there are no more tears of sorrow. I can name a million things that make me cry. I will spend eternity remembering millions of things that no longer do, and I will rejoice.

So I want to be that specific now. I want to start the list during Lent and mourn the broken, dark somethings that would usually beg to be ignored. We are reminded in 1 John that “God is light;in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” Walking in the light is not ignoring the things that are in the dark. I imagine myself strolling around my heart as a glow-in-the-dark version of myself illuminating all the corners of my interior house. Or walking across a map of the world or just our region and leaving iridescent foot prints. And of course, the light is God.

At the Public Meeting on Sunday night I was thinking about how are bodies get specific. The leukocytes attack infection and one type takes samples from the invading pathogen and takes it back to a lab where other cells make antigens for it. The antigens are specifically designed for that particular pathogen and thus very effective in subduing it. I promised to post this video which had me amazed out how well our bodies can work, even if they are suited for a hostile world. My prayer is that we might be so amazing in our battles against the darkness. It’s work. God help us.

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