It is a human need to mark time and make meaning of the changing days and seasons. Anglican theologian Neil Alexander says: “Time cannot be slowed down or speed up. It cannot be tamed. Our only hope is to mark it, sanctify it, relax into it, enjoy it, and allow life to be shaped by it.” In Christian practice, time is marked and ritualized by seasons of prayer – the variety of which is a gift, allowing for resonance with the full human experience. For example, while in the season of Pentecost our prayer celebrates the Spirit’s work of life and love, the season of Lent offers us a time for prayer that is self-reflective and honest about the difficulties in the human experience.
At community night last week, Elbert and I read a story about Lent to the community. The story is called “Make Room” by Laura Alary. Her invitation to Lent is to make space for God in our lives. She writes:
“This is how to make space:
If you have done wrong,
tell God you are sorry.
Sweep your heart clean and start fresh.
Be kind to all people,
not just the ones who like you.
Open your heart wide.
If someone hurts you,
ask God to help you forgive.
Do not sure up angry thoughts.
Let them go.
Make space inside for better things.
Share so that everyone has enough.
If you have two coats
give one to someone who has none.
Why clutter up your life with more then you can use?
Make space for what really matters.”
There are seasons for celebration and seasons for thoughtful reflection and each has a place in the Christian journey. Let us embrace the gift of Lent by “making space” to reflect on the hard and important questions. Can you take some of Laura’s suggestions above and “make space” for God in your life this Lent?