The Dark Season of Lent
“The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you,
and you have not lacked anything.” (Deuteronomy 2:7, NIV)
As I write these words, it is a cold and dark morning. The damp air and the chilling temperatures make me want to stay inside instead of getting out and starting my day. I am reminded how last week, as I drove both to and from St. Louis, I saw the swollen rivers, creeks, and streams along the way. I know the floods have caused great suffering. The devastation must be disheartening for those affected. It feels like Lent.
Today, I ponder the loss of lives and the injuries caused by the tornadoes yesterday in south Alabama. I can only imagine the shock that people must be experiencing over all the losses. It will take forever to rebuild their lives and their homes. Outside my window, the scene is drab and uninteresting. At least it's not flooded; still, it feels dark and cold and mysterious and heavy. It feels like Lent.
This afternoon I’ll visit with a grieving a family after an unexpected death. My heart is breaking for them in their loss. I can’t imagine what they are feeling right now. I hope to bring comfort and assurance to them in their pain. We’ve had a lot of deaths in our congregation recently. We’re losing people who have played a vital role in our church and, though they may have been unable to participate in recent years, their passing still leaves a void. Even though there is much to celebrate in the life of our church with signs of renewal and strength, the grief is still real and present. It feels like Lent.
Lent is often referred to as a journey. Like most journeys, Lent is seen as taking us to some destination. The place to which we journey is not as much a place as it is a state of being. We journey nearer to the heart of God where we are immersed in God’s love and grace. We travel through the cold and the darkness of a world in need of a savior in hopes of moving closer to the Light of Jesus Christ, who is our only salvation. We can make the dark journey through Lent because we know that Easter is coming. Hold on in this darkness, for the Light will come. Thanks be to God!