So our Lenten Journey has now begun, Redeemer. And I have been asking myself for several days now, just where are we journeying to . . . and with whom?
Sometimes I feel that my journey is very solitary – and willfully so – as I truly savor the contemplative, penitential nature of Lent as a retreat from my daily routines and busy-ness with other people, an opportunity to focus more on the purpose of my personal life and the diversity of my personal beliefs. Being inherently a “loner” (strong solo genes inherited from my father Tom), I cherish the all-too-infrequent solitude that Lenten worship and study encourages me to discover. Being alone with my God is a good thing.
At other times, I feel the strong pull toward community – to walk the Stations of The Cross together with a small, devoted group of pilgrims on Wednesday evenings, to kneel elbow to elbow with my Redeemer brothers and sisters at the altar rail for the Eucharist or for Holy Unction, to join together for soup and bread and a celebration of discipleship on Thursday evenings with each other and with our Woodhaven Presbyterian neighbors. (My mother Arlene’s more ensemble genes have shaped that music in me.) Walking the complicated Lenten Journey with my Christian family is also a good thing.
So where are we journeying to? Somewhere closer to Christ, I imagine, and closer to each other. Somewhere deeper into the core of our own hearts and minds and souls, so we can tap into that universal Energy through which God continues to create and recreate us, each and all. Somewhere toward a more selfless understanding of and empathy for other people’s needs – so we can encourage others to explore both the familiar and the lesser known Lenten paths with us.
And who are we journeying with? Our own selves. Our sisters and brothers in Christ. Curious non-Christians who may wish to understand our quirky Episcopalian ways a little better. Our Father, Son, and Holy Ghost helping to keep us on The Path.
This practical, mystical Lenten Journey is ours for the making, ours for the taking. Won’t you make it and take it with me?
– Jacqueline Maki