Lent

I have been some sort of follower of Jesus my whole life and I never looked up the meaning of “lent” until this morning.

It means to elongate or lengthen and it refers to the passage of days in spring into summer. It means the spring season.

Ironically, this makes me feel better about all the years my arbitrary Lenten prohibitions have been less than fulfilled to the letter of the law.

Lent is grace.

I remember teaching at a community college in Maryland and looking at the sky in early March. I could see how the light lasted a little longer each day before the evening classes for adult learners.

I had a Russian student who had or feigned a crush on me. I see him holding roses with the evening sun behind him. For almost thirty years I have thought of that acknowledgment of lent in the days when winter starts to lose its sway and light stretches forth.

What does Jesus want from lent? What does he want from us?

He wants our full passion and attention. He wants us to walk in the light.

Prayers for Kyiv

Psalm 9:8-11 KJV

[8] And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. [9] The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. [10] And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. [11] Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.

Who

Psalm 104:2-6 KJV

[2] Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: [3] Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: [4] Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: [5] Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever. [6] Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.

Compassed About

Hebrews 12:1-3 KJV

[1] Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, [2] Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross

, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. [3] For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Leave your robe

I try to gather traveling instructions for the “nice lady” I met at the coffee shop

Find those who sell the oil and stick with them closely until the bridegroom comes

Leave even your best robe behind

Be willing to sell all you have for the treasure in the field

Do all this for the least of these

Because narrow is the path to life (and few there are who will find it)

Call on the name of the Lord to be saved

If you don’t already seek and find him in

Ordinary wonders

Matthew 25:11-14 KJV

[11] Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. [12] But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. [13] Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. [14] For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

Sometimes we drive in the dark

Every once upon a time I take the girls

Driving in the dark

We look for places to call home–ramshackle garage, vape shop, dry cleaner with its window smashed

In the apocalypse there is still no

Room left in the inns of the world they ask

Why did she have to stick the needle in her arm? Why did she stick the needle in her arm? What was it about the needle that

Caused us to lose her?

The little one has poured her anger out over her minders all afternoon

Unwilling to face what it costs them

So I try to de Bergerac her through the necessary obsequities

I tell her I will whisper the words and she will shout–

I’m sorry

I’m sorry!

I’m sorry I was mean before

I’m sorry I was mean before

I was working out my grief

I was working out my grief

And sometimes there is anger in grief

And sometimes there is anger in grief

She has such a comical little girl voice

But when she says these things I know what God means

When He whispers in my ear

Altos De Betania

John 1:26-28 NIV

[26] “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. [27] He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” [28] This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

I was once set free in Bethany, so far from Jerusalem the rainy season fills the streets into rivers and the dry season ignites the hills, black ash a veil, a shroud over all

Who are you?

In the house of figs and sadness, blessed are the poor in spirit who

Know they cannot raise themselves to life

Let all the other signifiers change for us

To Lazarus to life