If there is one word that does not describe me, it would be rhythm. I can walk and chew gum. I can a great variety of activities that require coordination, but I can’t dance or keep the beat of a song. This reality makes for a frustrated guitarist! But, I pick along as best as I can (pun intended!).
One of the lessons that I have learned in the course of my faith journey is that faith has an ebb and flow. There are highs and there lows. The most constant reality is change. How we handle the changes that will come determines the richness of our experiences. It is quite fortunate for us all, that wisdom and age (normally, but not always) grow together. Lent has become one of the harmonies of my life. It is a reminder of the passage of time, but also the possibility for growth.
As in all things, superstition and abuse can take something useful and distort it and even destroy it. I, however, want to see this season of preparation and contemplation for what it is–an opportunity to turn my affections toward God. This does not mean that sin has ceased to creep at the door. Rather, my awareness of sin and its effects is heightened and brought into stark relief against the sacrifice of Christ on Easter. Every year, this time comes and we have another change to take steps toward deeper faithfulness and obedience.
The power of the Christian calendar is in its intentionally drawing our attention to God’s work in the world through the church. Can this calendar become a crutch or even a hindrance? Yes, it can. The task is working toward a balance and a consistency in our faith walk. Rhythm. Finding it and remaining faithful to it is one of the keys to a life lived with God.
The famed G. K. Chesterton found a unique way to describing our problem and our predicament. It has always captured my imagination and I share it with you in the hope that it captures yours.
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” (emphasis added)