|Tardree Forrest, Northern Ireland|
This Lent I invite you to give up something different than in years past. I invite you to give up sin for Lent, or rather give up everything you think you know about sin. This Lent I ask you give up all your preconceived notions about what sin is, how it works, what its causes and consequences are. I also ask that you take a different approach to the season of Lent. Instead of approaching Lent as a penitential journey of guilt, instead consider doing something different and approach it as a pilgrimage to healing and restoration. I ask you to explore, to take a bold vision of your transgressions and mine, to see beyond the transgressions, to instead see what lies behind them.
When we think of healthy people, do we think of healthy happy people being the kind who would bring intentional suffering onto another person? How about healthy communities, or religions, or countries for that matter? No? What does it say then about people, communities, religions or nations which bring about intentional suffering onto others? What is the cause of transgression-- fear, envy, greed, or anger? Or is it something else entirely? Can we really believe that God, in certain circumstances, condones the sufferings we cause each other? What are the consequences of our transgressions-- is it the eternal suffering of hell fire and damnation, something else, or nothing at all?
This Lent I'm exploring these questions, and others, and ask that you join me with open hearts and open minds, and explore the possibility that we wound others because of our own wounds left to fester or be picked at. I suggest that your wounds are wounds which are made sacred with the sacred wounds we share with Jesus, the wounds of betrayal and of innocence lost. I suggest that our journey through these wounds lead us to healing, restoration and to the table of the Prodigal Feast.
We will explore the parable of the Prodigal Son, which I think is the greatest explanation ever of the human condition, our brokenness, and the way through it, not just as a survivor, but as people who live life in the feast of gratitude, nourished by, and nourishing others, with God's love. We will also use the Lenten readings from the Daily Office Book (DOB), Year Two. This brings me to one last offering, if you don't pray The Office, I invite you this Lent to try to do it every day, at very least commit to saying one of them daily, like Morning Prayer or Compline for example. There are five offices to choose from and any one of them can fit into any time schedules. There is a great deal of comfort found in the constancy of the prayers of The Office which are also contained in the Book of Common Prayer.
Please be open to any questions which arise from these meditations and I suggest journaling or note keeping. I invite you to share any questions or observations which arise in the reading of these meditations. Thank you for reading and have a most blessed Lent.