Lent II

Last week, I made a promise to use a Lenten devotional as a spiritual guide for my walk through Lent.

This week I share a reflection inspired by one of the writers of that devotional. Molly Baskette wrote in yesterday’s piece about Epiphany’s – revelations that reset our walk in life.

Based on the story of Nicodemus, who challenged Jesus by asking him how someone who was old could be born anew. He put it this way: “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter into a mother’s womb a second time and be born again?”

This perhaps calls to mind the struggle we have when poets and authors skilled in the art of metaphor have their words forced through literal lenses of interpretation; but that is a subject of discussion for another time.

Let us approach this invitation of Jesus to be born again as a delightful opportunity to be open to a new way of orienting ourselves in the world. One of the central themes of Christ’s proclamation was the single word: repent. We hear that word a lot in Lent. We often think it means something like “beg for mercy and forgiveness before a judging overseer; or else pay the consequences.”

It doesn’t mean that. It simply means turn. Walk in a new direction. The pathway you are one is not one that will lead to life; set a new course. Repent, turn away from the direction you are headed in and start a new journey.

Its often hard to know when to turn; harder still to know where to turn; and hardest of all, at times, to know why to turn. Molly writes, in her devotion, about epiphany – that spark of insight that generates a whole new way of orienting yourself in the world. They don’t happen often, but when they do they serve as an invitation to turn

Life is filled with cross-roads moments, where two paths diverge in a yellow wood and you must choose one or the other. Lent is a time that invites consideration about the choices; and leaves open the opportunity and invitation to turn – to set a new course. Some of those turns aren’t big ones: going on a diet or starting a new exercise regimen, for example. Others are huge, and they will affect your life at deep levels: getting married or divorced, a new career path after 20 years at a job, having a child.

Some decisions are moral quandaries that require the wisdom of Solomon to parse, and you do your best to choose one or the other with the information you have at a given time. New information, new insight, new experiences will turn your opinion about such matters – but when you are called upon to make a decision you can only go with what you know at the time. This is how it is we can be born again – epiphanies occur that change the landscape of what we see, know, and believe.

Lent is a time when the gentle pause opens up space for us to pursue insight, and to make course corrections. Interrupting busy lives for sacred spaces can engender an epiphany that calls for a turn. Let yourself be open to that.

Gentle listener, may grace and peace abound for you on your walk through life. And when the crossroads appear, find your pathway and commit to it – until such time as some new revelation calls you to turn. And when you do, know that each committed step forward and each turning is one that finds you walking with your sacred Into the Mystic.