Looking Forward to Lent

. Posted in Pastor's Blog

Recently I was reminded of the story J.R.R. Tolkien told of the time he was correcting student essays. Amidst the pile of papers he came to a blank page. For some reason he did not move on. As he stared at it for a few moments, a revelation came. He wrote on that blank page: “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.” And of course that is how he began his book, The Hobbit, which led to his The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

If not for that blank page, perhaps Tolkien’s revelation would not have come. Who can say? One thing is clear, we all need blank pages or spaces in which the Holy Spirit can be revealed and new inspiration for living can come.

Most of our lives are full. As one of you shared with me recently, “Life feels faster and busier than in the past… I feel a bit like a rat on a wheel—all busy and getting nowhere.” And this comment came from a person who is not a parent of young children. Then again, I’m not a parent of young children either, and sometimes I have similar feelings.

But none of us wants to be a rat. We want to be human beings, fully present to what gives us a life worth sharing with others. But for that we need spaces to breathe and to be open to what is holy and true. In such spaces, God speaks. The Holy Spirit inspires. And we come alive again.

My hope and prayer for us is that Lent will be the occasion (even the excuse) for setting aside such spaces in our lives—whether it be during a Wednesday night prayer and communion service; Sunday worship; or a quiet time carved out of each day simply to be still and present to God as we pray, listen to music, take a walk, or otherwise find some space uncluttered by busyness and worry. Lord knows, we need it!

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