I have been involved in Christian Ministry as a volunteer and as a professional for most of my life. The bulk of my ministry was spent as a liturgist/musician. One of the aspects of that experience of ministry that continues to deeply impact me is the Liturgical Year.
Liturgy comes from the Greek, litourgia, which basically translates as, the work of the people. Throughout the year, Christians, follow the life of Christ in an effort to grow more Christ-like. The readings of the day and the prayers prescribed, Seasons and Feasts have developed in which we concentrate on and celebrate the aspects of the life and ministry of Jesus.
This Wednesday, Christians will enter into a profound—at least potentially profound—portion of the liturgical year: the Season of Lent.
We begin by signing ourselves with ashes, and for 6 weeks, commit ourselves to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving so as to become more Christ-like.
Volumes have been written about these practices and this season. Stereotypes abound.
For me, at this point, it is no longer about depriving myself of chocolate, fish on Friday, and putting my pennies into a jar.
This will not be a time of frowning, grey-ness and dirges. Not in my life.
This year, Lent is about empty-ness.
Empty-ness that I may become aware of God. Aware of God in me, in the other, in creation.
Empty-ness that I may listen. Hear birdsong. Hear the hurts and joys of my brothers and sisters.
Empty-ness that I may let go of the distractions that stop me from acknowledging the abundance around me. That I may let go of the pettiness that I allow to use my energy.
Empty-ness that I may hear.
Empty-ness that I may be filled with God’s love, justice, mercy, peace.
Empty-ness that in 40 days or so, I may be open and free to accept the promise and be filled with the reality of new life we call Easter.
Empty-ness…bring it on.