Lent | 2.25.12
Psalm 25: 1-10
The Lenten Season is an invitation to contemplate my own limitations in light of how I live. My limitations serve to remind me, if I pay attention to them, of the people, things, or ideas to which I am attached. It is not in my nature to seek discomfort (read: change, suffer), so I need times such as Lent to bring my focus to those things which may be holding me back from new insight.
In the readings today I find echoes of this theme of letting go, or releasing that to which I may be attached. In the Matthew passage, after Jesus forgives the sins of the paralyzed man, he asks the teachers of the law, who have just accused him of blasphemy for doing such, “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?” (v. 5) I hear in Jesus’ words a strong suggestion to consider that there may be more than one way for God to accomplish what God desires to do; and, the commitment of the teachers to hold on to their way as the only way may very well keep them from seeing or experiencing it.
To let go of what I am attached to is scary. If I do, I might not know what is going on or be able to predict (control) what I am to do. It leaves me vulnerable. I might even suffer. Lent is the season to remember that God not only asks me to move toward these places and times of discomfort, but that God joins me there to produce compassion and understanding beyond my own ability.
One of the historic dynamics of Lent is giving something up, or “fasting,” so I might feel some sense of loss, even suffering to help me “let go” of my attachment. I am grateful for the trusting words of the Psalmist (25:4-6) as he releases his grip on his own way of doing things in asking, “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me . . . .” The only way I know to be guided by another is to release my stronghold on doing it my way.
So this Lenten season, I invite you to join me in contemplating the questions: “In what ways am I ‘holding on’ to avoid change, discomfort, or suffering? What might I let go of to move into new insight?”
I wish you peace.
Adjunct Instructor, School of Religion
You can download the full Lent and Holy Week Devotional Guide at: http://www.belmont.edu/religion/files/lent-devotional-2012-final.pdf.