The season of Lent portrays the dark night of the soul as a basic element in religious or spiritual experience. Psalm 51 says: "A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." A basic element is that in Lent we are invited to remember that we are dust, and to dust shall we return. In writing these meditations I invoke the spirit of my book "Are You Running with Me, Jesus?" And as I approach my 90th birthday in June, I invite you to join me in a bit of Lenten meditating.
The waste and agony of dying are all around us. Death has come to mean an impersonal body count. Horror stories fill TV screens and usurp press headlines. How can we simply go on as if this kind of tragedy were absent? There is also the aspect of danger for all of us. What if someone deranged decides to shoot innocent people in a movie theater? Or open fire in a school building? If we can't count on responsible behavior by so-called responsible people, what exactly can we count on?
The Nazi experience remains recent history. Holocaust victims still live among us. We are numbed by the shocking repetition of tales of horror. But instead of such incidents taking place only in distant places, now they seem to occur two blocks away or on the other side of town or on this side. Right here.
Our future: Is it written in guns and nuclear overkill? In the utter tragedy of rape? In racism that lingers and just won't go away? The season of Lent offers an opportunity to look inward toward conscience and outward to the human suffering that makes life a living hell for some people.
In Lent we have a chance to permit the liberation of people and living things. But sometimes we don't seem to permit even our own liberation, let alone that of others. Yet I want to celebrate life! Blood flows through my veins. Rain falls. Water surges through the earth. i know the sun is up there even when it's hidden by clouds. I know the air stirs even when the wind is still. A leaf trembles on that tree. I see yellows, reds, blues, greens, black and white. I have so many feelings and I don't quite know what to do with them, Lord. Can I tell you? Will you understand me?.
I feel like singing, looking, biting, laughing, crying, tasting, painting, walking, dancing, running, being.
Being human. Being alive. Being loving.