St. Francis, pictured at Umlauf Sculpture Gardens
"He will set me close to him, and from my flesh I shall see God." (Job 19:25-27)
We ate pancakes for dinner yesterday evening — cornmeal and pumpkin, which made them dense like the beet pancakes I used to make for Liesl when she was young in her toddler years. The meal signified our feasting before our fast.
This morning when we awoke, we thought of what we each will fast from these next forty days. Liesl asked how long forty days is; and I replied, about a month and a week.
Lent is about contrition and repentance, as we receive ashes that signify our utter dependence. I think also that Lent is about taking up the shelter of God: our provision through redemption, our help in the time of trouble, our wisdom in oft-futile thinking, and His presence in our weakness; how He uses the limitations of our own humanity to give us a conduit through which to see.
It reminds me of what Paul says about the law in Romans: Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
And without the restrictions and weakness of our flesh (if everything for us were all rosy and living life was easy as pie), we would not see God.
There is another thought, too, and I found it from a verse cited in a book about prayer: The Son of God, Jesus Christ … was never Yes-and-No; his nature is all yes (2 Cor 1:19-21).
For every no that I declare in my life and with regard to myself and others (think: guilt, judgment, fear, despair, and the list goes on), God says yes, a mighty trumpet blast that declares His glory, hope, life, and love — and all of it given to us, through Christ.