As Lent begins God speaks to us and we strain to hear him. He speaks to us, and if lucky we begin to hear, ever so faintly, his call. The light of his call is dim, like the “first trace of dawn on the rim of the night.” At this moment, we certainly cannot be certain of what we hear and see because it is as alive and changing as we are alive and changing.
We must be careful not to fall into the temptation to say Lent is about “getting my life in control.” Too often we focus too much on the sacrifice part. By gritting our teeth and becoming as strong as we can be, we don’t let something be done for us that is more wonderful still. Sometimes, what will make “ all is alright” is something that can be had only as a gift. Buechner reminds us that, “…the one thing a clenched fist cannot do… is accept a helping hand.”
Lent is a time through our prayers, our sacrifices, and our meditations to talk to God. I have a friend who I rarely see anymore, sometimes for years. Yet, when we do visit it is like there is no space or time since our last visit. We keep up with each other sure, but there is nothing like a long afternoon together whether it be on the golf course or merely over a cold beer. That friendship reminds me of my relationship with God, and it is a window through which I see what my relationship with God should be. Sometimes the space and time between real visits with God has been way too long, as well. A mere hello on Sunday is hardly enough.
Lent, first and foremost, is a time to renew your acquaintance with God. It is time to visit an old friend. As we say in the South, visit “an old friend since birth.”