“Lent is a time to take the time
To let the power of our faith story take hold of us.”
–Ann Weems, Lent, in Kneeling in Jerusalem
I must say this is the longest, coldest, darkest, snowiest winter I can remember. And’ I’ve lived in both England and Canada. I’m so tired of grey, ratty, nasty snow piles I could scream. Here, at the tail end of winter, I am reminded that the walk through Lent is not an easy one. It is fraught with the grey, ratty, nasty reality of life.
The Presbyterian ruling elder and poet Ann Weems reminds us that this time of Lent is a time to nurture the roots of our Christian faith by immersing ourselves in the power of its story. We worship a God who loves us so much that God was willing to become one of us, suffering with and for us, and experience the horrors of death. Lent is a time to turn again to the Story of Jesus and live into that story—live more fully into the life God calls us to.
One good discipline for living more fully into our faith story is the practice of listening to our own lives. At the end of each day, it is worth our asking ourselves 2 questions:
- Where did I feel most alive today?
- Where did I feel least alive today?
Thinking prayerfully about these questions is a way to get in touch with what God may be up to in our lives. This is not to say that feeling “lively” is a sure sign of God’s presence any more than feeling exhausted and out of all strength means that God has abandoned us. Rather, prayerfully reflecting on these questions is a way of “praying without ceasing” (I Thess. 5:17). It is part of what the 17th Century lay Carmelite Brother Lawrence called “Practicing the presence of God.” Where, over the course of the day have we been most aware God in our lives?
A further step in this reflective discipline is to ask ourselves how the story of our day has echoes in the Story of Scripture—in the stories of God’s work with God’s people. As Christians, we are molded and shaped by the “power of our faith story.” How has God been present in the life of Israel, the life of the Church? How has God been present in your life? What is God “up to” in your life?