Late To Lent
Years ago, when my independent church started noticing that there was more to the liturgical calendar than Easter and Christmas, I started noticing Lent. But I confess, I am a sometime Lent observer, and not a very consistent one.
Ash Wednesday came and went this year as a notation in my calendar. Lent began for my brothers and sisters. It began for me, too, but I didn’t observe it. I’ve come late to Lent, and might not have come at all, but for God’s invitation via a little virus that’s making big news.
I’m guessing like me, you’ve joined many in the social distancing that has been strongly advised by leaders of each country. Church is canceled and every foray away into society comes with the implied question of whether this trip is worth the health, perhaps life of myself or another. Perhaps you’re one of those who are working in the midst of distancing, helping those who need groceries, healthcare, or another essential service.
I’m spending most of my days with my sister, who is working from home, with the company of our pets. Some of my friends live alone. Some friends are isolated with family, but even with family, the loss of the greater community can feel lonely. My extrovert friends are finding this time especially difficult.
As an introvert, this should feel easier, I say. It’s one thing to choose the desert, and another to be driven into the spaces of isolation.
So Lent is late for me this year, and is defined by the letting go of the communion I enjoy in physical community. I miss meeting in shared space, hearing the chatter and laughter, finding and giving shoulders to cry on, hugs and kisses.
In quiet and loneliness I endure, until I notice that it is the Spirit leading me into the wilderness.
For me. Rublev’s icon of the Trinity invariably comes to mind, and the image you see above.
The Godhead seated in unity and mutual giving invites me to join their communion. I begin to hear the conversation, scattered with laughter and saturated with love, peace, and goodwill. And I’m welcomed.
It’s wonderful to know that a God who is relationship and needs nothing also invites me to pull up a chair at the table.
Listen for the leading. You are invited to the table. Welcome.
Pull up a chair and enjoy the community that is often most richly enjoyed in solitude.