March 1st, 2006

HTOC

REFLECTIONS

As you may have heard, I’ll be leaving tomorrow afternoon for Wisconsin, returning home on Monday, the sixth. I believe that Sugar Creek Camp is about a three hour car-ride, though my memory isn’t really solid. I will go and I will be with thirty or so others – many of whom I’ve not seen since the last retreat. I will re-learn all their names for a second time, feeling slightly awkward when they already remember mine.

Great Lent begins on Monday, though the first services with a heavily-Lenten ethos begin to take place on Sunday morning and Sunday evening. I do regret the fact that I’m not going to be able to attend, but I know that Christ’s presence is not limited to a certain city, and certainly not to a specific building. If that were the case, I would attempt to live in the church.

I was reading my housemate Jason’s blog yesterday. He shared his strange attraction to the quiet and somber season that is Lent. I think that I understand, though admittedly I’ve never observed a Lenten season before. The death of this world is to be found in its distractions. Anything we can do to break free from them is surely a step towards salvation.

But again, that’s the strange thing about Christianity. In the Light of Christ everything else becomes somewhat of a distraction. Paradoxically, however, everything also becomes eternally important, as we begin to find Him in the midst of all distractions. He cannot be relegated to a specific time or place. God does not move to new places over time. Christ is everywhere at all times, but it is our responsibility to recognize Him. Our life is permeated with God, yes, but we a largely oblivious to His presence. I hope and I pray and I believe that in this season of Great Lent, our eyes would be opened just a little bit more to this fact.

I’ll sign off with this prayer from St. Ephraim the Syrian. It is said countless times during the services of Lent in the Eastern Churches. It is prayed with several prostrations.

O Lord and Master of my life
take from me the spirit of sloth
faint-heartedness,
lust of power
and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity,
humility,
patience,
and love to thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King
grant me to see my own errors
and not to judge my brother;
for Thou art blessed unto the ages of ages.
Amen.