Journey is a word we use a lot when we talk about Lent. We are on a Lenten journey, a pilgrimage of the soul as we travel toward the cross and Easter beyond. It’s a good word, journey. But while we are considering words that speak to the essence of Lent, let’s not neglect one that is just as important—stillness.
Life is all about movement and action. Even our Christian faith, robbed of action is meaningless. “Faith without works is dead,” James tells us (2:17). But Lent is a time also to pause and ponder the source of all good acts. Lent is a time to examine the center of our lives and see what’s there.
During the three weeks of Lent that remains, when you have taken off your wandering shoes and settled, however briefly, into a moment of stillness, ask yourself some questions. What do you really believe? What is important to you? What do you hope, when you allow yourself to hope? Dissect your life for a moment and look at its parts. And yes, look at those experiences or fears that make you feel less than whole. What is it that makes you who you are?
When the silence of night finally envelops you, what do you hear? Don’t be afraid to ponder the truth beyond words. Be still, and know the presence of God that is closer even than the darkness around you and more profound than the silence of the night.
That presence is the source of all that is, the ground of all being, the hope of the world. That presence is the God of all grace and mercy. In the quiet of that rare silent moment, hear the words again. “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” “Come to me all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” “And remember I am with you always, to the end of the age.” In that moment of rest, when there is nothing to be done, no action to take, no journey to continue, no busyness to fill your mind, remember that all that must be done for your salvation and wholeness has been done.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations. I am exalted in the earth.” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.