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A blogger reflects.
I have to admit I’ve never really LIKED this particular season, Lent. It has always seemed so gloomy. I don’t like morose approaches to faith and life in general. One of my colleagues said to me light-heartedly today, “To dust I shall return? No way. I’m going to have myself cryogenically frozen!”
I don’t think Jesus spent his 40 days in the desert beating himself up over past mistakes or nurturing in himself a sense of unworthiness, shame, or fear. I don’t think this is what he was about or what Lent is meant to be, but in the past the season has often been described to me as a time to reflect on sinfulness and the need for repentance. I think of it as spiritual work-out time – like the sometimes hard and painful but ultimately health-building, strengthening, wonderful exercises dancers do at the ballet barre. I have found that retreats – stepping back from material cares and mundane concerns into silence and sacred space – can make that spiritual work really fruitful, but silence and sacred space are really hard to come by these days, making the demarcation of sacred time even more valuable.I think Jesus spent his time in the desert in deep connection with Spirit and world. I appreciate what Bruce Feiler said in his program Walking the Bible, during which he visited the awe-inspiring Sinai Desert: “In the desert you are between being in extreme places, having extreme emotions, and opening yourself up to spiritual ideas that never existed before. That’s why the desert is such a powerful place. You’re pushed to the limits of your capacity and you crave nonhuman, nonrational support — that is, God…That’s what Jews, Christians and Muslims all have in common: a single man goes out into the desert and has a transforming experience.”