This year we are blessed with a long green season between Epiphany and Lent. Unlike other years, we have time to wait, to wonder and to plan. We have time to await God's revelation of himself before plunging headlong into all the things we are supposed to do and feel during Lent.
The light of Christ can reveal itself at the communion rail, in the choir loft, in the sacristy; in the bricks and mortar of our buildings and the lovely pathway through our property that is used non-stop through the day and on through the night. It can reveal itself in the many relationships that are formed and strengthened through worship services, church programs and events, and the long days and years of work shared among ourselves.
Christ's light and God's grace is available to us. It is all around us, it is in us. It sparkles in the sunlight and lightens up the gloom. And yet, the words of Denise Levertov speak to an experience that we know that we all have had:
I have long since uttered your name
but now I elude your presence.
I stop to think about you, and my mind
at once like a minnow darts away,
darts into the shadows, into gleams that fret
unceasing over the river's purling and passing.
Not for one second will my self hold still, but
wanders anywhere, Everywhere it can turn.
Our modern world with its many screens and all too many distractions adds to the darting qualities of our minds and our hearts and our souls. It does our souls good to admit that this is so, and admit, as Denise Levertov does:
Not you, it is I am absent.
You are the stream, the fish, the light
the pulsing shadow,
You the unchanging presence in whom all
moves and changes
How can I focus my flickering, perceive
At the fountain's heart
The sapphire I know is there?
Taking a moment, a day, a season to focus our flickering is good work to do in this good green time we have been given this year. If we can perceive the unchanging presence that is in and behind the pulsing shadow and in and around the many changes and chances of this life, we will be well on our way to that "Good and Holy Lent" that will come upon us, later than usual this year, but, as always, sooner than we think.
--The Rev. Rebecca H. Blair, Rector, St. Andrew's Church, New Bedford. Reprinted with permission from the St. Andrew's newsletter.
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