Lent is a 40 week season of preparation. We’re working our way to Easter — a great celebration! — by taking seriously our spiritual formation, realizing that you can’t have a resurrection without a death. Jesus calls us to die to self, but we end up being kept alive (though barely) by solutions that give a rush followed by vacuum. It’s a lot to think about and requires a certain perseverance on our part, made possible by the wonderful grace of Jesus. Stir us up, Lord. Disrupt us. Awaken us.
Referring to this season of Lent, author Thomas J. Talley writes:
To do this is to enter for the time upon a different sense of who I am, a more profound sense of who I am, achieved by disengagement from preoccupation with the structure which normally defines me. It is a matter of rediscovering ourselves by forgetting who we are and this forgetting, this turning in a new direction, is metanoia, conversion, repentance. Repentance is not preoccupation with an unsavory past, but the very opposite of that. It is the positive embrace of our helplessness as a moment of transcendent truth. It is the exciting discovery of humility, of poverty, of nakedness, and of the utter seriousness of life in God.
Disruption, friends. Liturgical disruption. A temporary disarranging that makes us employ our senses in ways we didn’t previously need. Like rearranging your desk and bumping your left knuckles on the stapler that once sat patiently on your right. We take new paths to the same old jobs for the sake of variety. We appreciate cow pastures or coffee shops we never noticed before. We couldn’t have noticed them because we were on familiar ground.
Familiarity numbs us to the ever-presence of Father, Son, and Spirit. Emmanuel means God is with us. In our boredom, God becomes an old winter coat in the closet that we stumble across when we’re looking for our umbrella, forgetting and thus surprised that my old coat was here the whole time!
Lent pushes us out of familiar territory. Unprotected by routine, our souls smack their lips, wipe their eyes, and look around bleary, asking what time it is…
And that’s when we’re ready for resurrection.