March 1, 2010: What will you do during Lent in preparation for Easter?

Posted on : Mar 1st, 2010 | By | Category: Still Speaking

One way to approach the season of Lent is to reflect prayerfully on our lives lived with God.  God accompanies us through all the different seasons of our lives. Part of our journey through Lent is taking a moment to gaze back over the lives we have lived and look for traces of God’s presence in our journey of faith, in the various seasons of our life.  One way to do this is to ponder the words of a Scripture text to open ourselves up to the awareness of the presence of God’s Spirit in our pilgrimage through a life of faith. For this purpose I chose for us a text from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

Ecclesiastes is an interesting book, in that it has a different view of life than say, for instance, the writer of the Book of Proverbs. The writer of Proverbs leaves us with the idea that we can control our lives and destiny – just do the right and wise thing, and all will be well. The writer of Ecclesiastes has a more realistic view of live – it’s complicated and messy, and even our best efforts can lead to nothing. Calamity and misfortune do and will strike. Yet it is not a fatalistic book; rather the writer helps us realize that life itself, and the time given to live life is the blessing we receive from God. Instead of chasing after the wind, trying to ensure the desired outcome for our lives, we should trace the movement of God’s presence in our lives – it’s only then that we will be able to make sense of our lives and find meaning.

Read slowly through the text below two or three times while tracing the seasons or rhythms of your own life. Review your dreams, your desires, your experiences, your consolations, and your desolations. Prayerfully ask yourself:

When did I sense God’s presence in my life…?

When did I feel alone or abandoned…?

When did I experience blessings…?

When did I feel hopeless…?

When did I listen to God’s voice…?

When did I resist listening to God…?

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die,

a time to plant, and a time to uproot,

a time to hurt, and a time to heal,

a time to tear down, and a time to build up,

a time to cry, and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn, and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them together,

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search, and a time to give up,

a time to keep, and a time to throw away,

a time to tear, and a time to mend,

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak up,

a time to love, and a time to hate,

a time for war, and a time for peace.

To ponder on these Spirit-breathed words one cannot help but express feelings of gratitude and blessedness; yet at the same time also deep sorrow and regret. One cannot help but express thanks and praise for so many gifts received from God, while also realizing the need for healing, wholeness and peace in our lives. Reflecting on the seasons of our lives we once again become aware of our dependence on God’s presence, mercy and grace in our journey of life. This week, as you go about your normal business, ponder these words in Ecclesiastes, savor them, struggle with them, rejoice in them, mourn with them, let them permeate your thoughts when you walk, or sit, or work, or sleep – what you discover may surprise you.