(February 10, 2013) Paul reminds us that we experience and communicate God through a filter. How do our perceptions and expectations shape how we experience God and the world around us? How do they shape what we communicate to those we meet? (Luke 9:28-36; Exodus 34:29-35; 2 Corinthians 3:12-13, 17-4:2)
Huge life and family transitions sucked months and months of my life away; adding the Advent, Christmas, and New Year seasons on top practically turned me into a hermit. I feel like I woke up a few weeks ago, blinking my eyes into the sudden brightness, and marveled that there was a world around me.
When I celebrated my 33rd birthday last May, a few of my friends jokingly warned me that in *his* 33rd year, Jesus died and was reborn, and so to watch out. I kind of want to find those people and wag my fingers at them for their unintended prophetic words. Sorrow, grief, pain, anger, shame, challenge, and tentative hope have marked my days these last few months. It’s felt like death, and waiting for new birth. I’ve done a lot of personal work and growth, processing all that. I really really want to be ready for rebirth.
And so maybe that’s why I found myself entering Lent kicking and screaming. What do you mean it’s time to spend time in the wilderness? I’ve just come from there! You want me to pause and reflect, draw closer to God and to my center? Empty myself and die a little to be reborn? Ponder being and having nothing? Been there. If they made t-shirts for that, I’d be selling them. I’m done, right? I get a pass this year, yes?
Instead, I find myself reflecting on ashes, how they represent complete death, nothing left, scattered and blow away. Only then, only then, can God create anew. Without total death, there is no resurrection.
I’m impatient. I want to be done. My Advent felt like Lent– a time of death and darkness and sorrow– I want to await with hope and expectation. But it seems the calendar is telling me not yet. Linger longer here. Push deeper into the desert sands of wilderness. Plumb the depths of your own brokenness and need for rebirth. Take this time, not to wallow, but to deeply experience, the complete death, complete surrender, complete journey into the darkness and wilderness. And then see, see what new life might emerge and arise from the ashes.