Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Living in the story - Ash Wednesday, 2009

One of the things I appreciate about the perspective of liturgical churches is the way they celebrate seasons. More than hollow ritual, these seasons, if approached with grace, humility and even, in my opinion, a touch of humor, can go a long way to remind us of what's important.

Lent is a period of re-commitment to spiritual discipline, reflection and prayer in the days leading up to the celebration of the resurrection. A pet peeve of mine is when we use the word "myth" to describe something that's not true. Myth is something that's truer than what we see and these seasons in the liturgy are traditions that help us live inside the myth of Christ.

As we read and reflect on his story, it lays over our story and we begin to experience Jesus, the gospel and the spiritual life (which is our whole life) in deeper ways. These are more than just stories that happened in history...they are that, of course...that's why Tolkien referred to the gospel as the "true myth" of Christ. They are stories that we can live inside.

This season, as we near the resurrection celebration, let's walk with Jesus and watch his miracles. As we see him make water into wine, maybe we'll notice when he takes our plain existence and turns it to celebration and joy. When he raises Jarius' daughter, perhaps we will hear him tell us to get up and live. When he clears the temple, perhaps we can sense those things in us that have kept us from prayer and let him deal with them.

This morning, the sun came up behind dark rain clouds here in the valley. As it got brighter, the clouds dispersed and a clean, fresh sky poured in from the west. That's like Jesus. We are in his story and that changes everything.

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