I can’t help but wonder where the time has gone.
It seems like just a few days ago when we entered into prayer and fasting on Ash Wednesday. The whole season of Lent, with its promises of sacrifice and devotion, laid before us then, as we resolved to strike out, each of us on our individual journey of faith.
I might be wrong, but I’m guessing I’m not the only one who hasn’t had a perfect lent. I can’t say that I have stayed faithful to every sacrifice of time, effort and devotion that I sought to pursue on that Ash Wednesday. Unfortunately, the journey has taken it’s toll and, at times, I have lost my way. I suspect I’m not alone because, when you think about it, that’s just how journeys go.
When we talk about lent as a journey we have to keep the fullness of that metaphor in mind. When you start any journey, the promise of what’s beyond the horizon fills you with awe, wonder and excitement. There is endless possibility in what’s to come. However, with each mile the journey becomes more arduous, filled with difficulty, distraction and a loss of resolve. They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step but really, it’s that first step that’s the easiest. It’s on step three-thousand four hundred and twelve that the journey is at it’s most difficult.
In terms of our Lenten journey, we’re somewhere in that three-thousand step range. We are at the time in the journey where we start to ask ourselves, “should I just turn around, head home, and try again next year?” Or, perhaps, feeling like we’ve made substantial and acceptable progress, maybe we just stop moving forward, find a nice place to rest and “coast” until the season of our journey concludes.
If any of these thoughts have crossed your mind, as they have admittedly crossed mine, then let this be the tool the Holy Spirit uses to snap you out of it and encourage you to keep on pressing forward. As the writer of the book of Hebrews said, “Let us rid ourselves of every burden…and persevere in running the race that lies before us” (Hebrews 12: 1). I look forward to seeing you back on the pilgrim trail and to the eventual celebration we will share as we bask in the light of Christ on that Easter Sunday. For every hard mile we trod between now and then, the celebration will be that much sweeter.