Friday, March 5, 2021

Turning love

Friday in the Second Week of Lent

Answer me, O Lord, for your love is kind;
in your compassion, turn to me.
Psalm 69:18



In the company of others in the virtual space we share, I trace a labyrinth path with my finger across a sheet of paper. Each of my companions does the same. If this were another time, and a different circumstance, we would be walking a labyrinth together in the same physical space and time.

But this is the now and the space we have. We set our prayerful questions before us, and trace.

And as we pray this way together, I sense us all on the same path. One that extends beyond us. One on which we circle out to the edge and back into the heart. One on which we each travel at different paces and may be in different quadrants but are nevertheless together along the Way of Love.

The path turns and turns. I come to the center. I rest. And then, I circle my way back out again.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Plenteousness

Thursday in the Second Week of Lent

You strengthen me more and more;
you enfold and comfort me.
Psalm 71:21



The smells from the kitchen begin to fill me with goodness and the taste of the meal to come. Places are set and an evening glow highlights our dining table. My spouse tends to the cooking and later I will wash the dishes and clean up.

For the moment, I savor this time of preparation. Our conversation is easy, the years of sharing meals and life comfortably familiar. Sometimes it is routine, sometimes ritual, sometimes just the way we do things.

It is also gathering time for us. Our days inevitably unfold in divergent directions and adhere to dissimilar schedules. Even working from home in the same space, our rhythms differ. It is the evening meal that reconnects us. It is time set apart. It is holy.

I light a candle. We say a prayer. We begin.



Image: Anne E. Kitch

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Connection

 Wednesday in the Second Week of Lent

My soul has longed for your salvation;
I have put my hope in your word.
Psalm 119:81



A year ago my friend and I were enjoying morning coffee in a small, locally-owned coffee shop and bookstore. Surrounded by used books, we contemplated the generations of personal stories not just within the pages, but connected to the pages. How many lives had any one book touched? And how many lives did our own stories connect us to?

Now is the time when “a year ago” becomes a familiar phrase as we sift through our experiences and try to make sense of them, put them in context, learn from them, move on from some and hold on to others.

For me, among other things, it has been a time of practicing hope, deepening community, and nurturing connection. Actually, often holding on to connections for dear life, not wanting to lose anyone or be lost myself.

And where would I be without the constancy of God, who is ever faithful? Whose word connects all? Who binds us with love? Even from six feet apart.



Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Embrace

Tuesday in the Second Week of Lent

For God alone my soul in silence waits;
from whom comes my salvation.
Psalm 62:1


The wind is fierce, eliciting all sorts of creaks from the house, keens from outside branches, and frantic tolls from the windchimes. I throw out a greeting to wild March, which kisses winter farewell and will frolic its way to spring.

My chair, for the moment, is a place undisturbed by the cacophony. I am still in the center of the storm. Can I be even more still? I quiet myself and focus on the holy, simultaneously drawing within and expanding beyond myself. I find the silence, and in the silence a power that matches the wind.

I sit in the deep pool of calm in the midst of the tempest and wait. And pray. And contemplate. And am drawn close in divine embrace.



Adaptation of Image by Vitalis Arnoldus from Pixabay

Monday, March 1, 2021

Promise

Monday in the Second Week of Lent

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful,
for I have taken refuge in you;
in the shadow of your wings will I take refuge
until this time of trouble has gone by.
Psalm 57:1




I am more and more aware of days lengthening, especially in the morning. The season is changing. Snow still covers the ground in my part of the world, despite the work of rain and warmer temperatures, simply because there has been so much of it. 

As I walk through my neighborhood, I look for signs of new life, hoping for a crocus or other early bloom. But the receding snowbanks seem to reveal only mud, tired grass, and puddles. Then, as I lift my eyes to watch the geese across a field, I see it. The yellow-green of a willow tree promising spring.

In my heart, hope still seems hampered by the vestiges of this past year. I have been focused on seeking refuge and now I find myself hesitant to unfurl. Yet my life and all creation are in the hands of the One who is always faithful. Mercy has carried my thus far, and I remind myself that the promise of new life includes me.


Photo credit: Anne E. Kitch

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Escaping boundaries

Saturday in the First Week of Lent

You trace my journeys and my resting-places
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Psalm 139:2




The day spreads out ahead of me, awaiting my engagement.

For years, as a disciplined morning person, I spent my first hours in unwavering routine and ritual. How I began my day affected all that came next. It was almost as if I had to pack all my prayer, ritual, gratitude, listening to the Almighty, into the early morning hours.

So much is different now. Over the past year, I have experienced time, schedules, and rhythms as somewhat surreal. Like a frozen stream, my energy slowed and took strange turns, no longer fast paced or moving in a predictable course.

Grace, having tenderly invited me into transformation, continues to accompany me. Now, I enter my days more gently. It is as if my relationship with the holy has escaped the strict boundaries I had adhered to, seeping into my entire day of oddly kept hours. This pace is slow, but deep, deep, deep. Churning up residue in my soul that has long been settled, some of which brings sweetness to the surface, some of which needs to be examined and then released.

Is it the day that is holy, ready and waiting for me to take part in God’s Kairos time.



Image by Ruth Vivian Aschilier-Foser from Pixabay

Friday, February 26, 2021

Re-creation

Friday in the First Week of Lent

Open my lips, O Lord,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Psalm 51:16


I prepare for a day of respite and feel a sense of gratitude wash over me, calming and energizing. I have learned over this past year--as the lines between home and office, work and play, time on and time off, have blurred--how vital it is for me to honor times of restoration.

God cares for our recreation. And re-creation. To give myself over to times of refreshment, especially when they happen upon me at odd moments, is to deeply respect the sacred relationship into which God calls me day after day.

When my lips praise God, I’m not telling the Almighty he is doing a good job. I am honoring, adoring, celebrating the One who has created this exquisite universe and placed me in it, giving me so much to enjoy.



Image by David Mark from Pixabay