We are still in the middle of season of Lent. For those of us who still seek to travel within the ancient and generous Christian traditions, Lent is all about appreciation of journey, particularly through wilderness, through temptation and through encounter with our own weaknesses.
In the depths of this encounter, Easter is so far away as to be almost irrelevant. There are no miracles here, just grit in the shoe and hard miles to travel.
This year, I decided to do without sugar- as far as this is possible in a culture that even puts sugar in baked beans. In practice it has meant avoiding anything sweet, any fizzy drinks or chocolate. It has mostly not been a difficult thing to do and has clear health benefits. It is a small thing to signify sacrifice.
But the middle of the Lenten wilderness has little to do with food choices- this I feel keenly at present. I do not long for oasis, I long to live without the need of oasis. To live not longing for weekends and expensive holidays, but rather to simply walk in the way that I am made to be. To stop searching the horizon for something to aim at, to look forward to. To stop sugar coating life and just to live for something wholesome and true.
Perhaps you understand this- your walk is also hard, maybe an awful lot harder than mine.
In the middle of our Life-Lent, I offer you a poem/prayer I wrote a few years ago. I dared to imagine God speaking to me, sharing a moment with one of his more troubled and wayward sons.
Holy Spirit mojo
Put down those things you carry
Sit with me a while
Stop making things so complicated
It is much simpler than that
Start from where you are
Not where you would like to be
Not where others say you should be
There may come a time when
I will warm your heart towards new things
But right now
I just want to warm your heart
All around you is beauty
All around you are people I love
And I rejoice as you learn to love them too
Look for softness in your heart
There I am
Look for tenderness
And it will be my Spirit
Calling you to community
It is not for you to cut a way into the undergrowth
Or make a road into the rocky places
Rather let us just walk
And see were this path will lead us
You and I
For my yolk rests easy
If you will wear it
And my burdens lie soft on the shoulders
If you will lift them