May I share another poem by Ann Weems from her collection Kneeling in Jerusalem? The title is simply “Lent.”
Lent is a time to take the time
to let the power of our faith story take hold of us,
a time to let the events
get up and walk around in us,
a time to intensify
our living unto Christ,
a time to hover over
the thoughts of our hearts,
a time to place our feet in the streets of Jerusalem
or to walk along the sea and listen to his word,
a time to touch his robe
and feel the healing surge through us,
a time to ponder and a time to wonder.
Lent is a time to allow a fresh new taste of God!
We are on this journey together. A journey that this year includes a pandemic with its accompanying grief and anxiety. But we are also surrounded by hopeful and loving friends. Our Lenten journey allows us to put even a pandemic in perspective and ask far more meaningful questions about relationships, priorities, values, and mission.
Nice words. Comforting words. But how? How do we make the most of this journey? How do we integrate Lenten lessons and convictions into the daily news, fractured politics, and socially distanced friendships?
There’s a recurring Hebrew word in the Old Testament that may give us some guidance. It reoccurs when the ancient people of Israel needed direction about relationships, priorities, values, and mission. The word is zachar and it means “to remember.”
Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8)
And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day. (Deut. 5:15)
Remember the days of old, Consider the years of all generations. Ask your father, and he will inform you, Your elders, and they will tell you. (Deut. 32:7)
Remember these commands and cherish them. Tie them on your arms and wear them on your foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working. (Deut. 11:18)
That usual word for remember, zachar, is often linked to another group of words urging care, intentionality, caution, and warning and we know what that means. Some warnings we choose to ignore. “Better slow down; you’ll get pulled over!” Some rules we are terrified to transgress. “Dry clean only!” Not a statement – a threat!
How do we “get the most” our of this Lenten journey? Remember! Take the time to slow down. Make a list. Reflect. Appreciate. Express gratitude. Learn from the past. Lent is a time to allow a fresh new taste of God!