Absence and Arrival

Last week, Ash Wednesday, marked the beginning of the season of Lent. That Wednesday I was in a short conversation in regards to Lent in which it was said, “I don’t want to give something up just for the sake of it. I want to see a better me in the future.” In many ways I thoroughly agree with this sentiment. Below you’ll find my response containing a few brief thoughts on the subject of Lenten observance. Also, I’ve been attempting to put together a series of original poems that I think capture the theme and emotion of Lent. You can find them here and here, another is forth coming and there will certainly be more to follow. I’ve also attached a short video by my good friend, Rev. Scott Elliott from Riviera United Church of Christ, in which he describes the sense of resonant imagery that Lenten practice conjures for him. Enjoy!

To reduce Lent to a mere observance of a ritualistic act of an arbitrary lack is to miss the entire point of the season. For me it is about being brought low, an existential absence, a reaching for humility, patience amidst want and craving. It is the rejection of one’s desire, a negation of the self, an absolute “No” issued to the ego, all of which ultimately prepares the observant for the magnitude of the coming event, the in-breaking of resurrection. It is the tension of the “not yet” in the wake of the “already.”

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