A prayerful path
A lot of folks claim the season of Advent and Christmas as their favorite time of year. I too find it full of twinkling joy, but my favorite season of the Christian calendar is Lent.
Now I was raised as a Southern Baptist by parents that tried to teach me to be wary of (disdain) anything remotely Catholic. Because of their ill-informed aversion, it wasn’t until I started a Methodist seminary that I had any inkling what Lent is all about. I will leave it to y’all to explore interwebs and learn about historical and typical modern observances of Lent in Catholic and Protestant traditions. Goodness knows there is a complex spectrum of theologies and practices flourishing out there.
How I’ve come to understand it over the years since entering seminary, coming out and living into a progressive, nigh on universalist faith, is as a time of slowing down to deepen our spiritual practices with intentionality and introspection. It is a sacred, sometimes solemn, time to give up a portion of our indulgent comforts and to take up a practice of paying closer attention to the Divine presence in the world.
Since my year is framed by crafting meaningful paths, Lent will be the season where the journey takes a turn toward poetry and pilgrimage.
On Ash Wednesday I’ll begin a weekly, online lectio divina series that’s open for anyone and everyone who comes in peace. We will listen deeply to sacred and secular poetry and discern together how God may be speaking to our lives through the words of prophets and poets. If these sorts of soulful shenanigans are for you, pop over to the VrijSpirit website to learn how you can participate.
For my personal practice, I will be walking segments of the Pieterpad. I have a pandemic-year worth of stringy knots accumulating in my heart, and best as I can tell, walking, a lot and alone, is how to gently untangle that mess.
“Walking, ideally, is a state in which the mind, the body, and the world are aligned, as though they were three characters finally in conversation together, three notes suddenly making a chord. Walking allows us to be in our bodies and in the world without being made busy by them. It leaves us free to think without being wholly lost in our thoughts.” ― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking
It may take me ‘til the end of the year to section hike the whole thing (one weekend or school holiday at a time), but it shall be done! I’ll set out for the first two or three segments on the first Sunday of Lent, February 21st.
Although I will walk many segments alone, I’ll carry prayers of the people with me each time I hit the trail. If I can carry a prayer for you, please send me an email or contact me via PM on Facebook with your prayer request. I will hand write your prayer, carry it in my pocket and send you back a picture of where on the path I stopped and lifted up your prayer.
However you walk the coming journey to Spring and Easter, may your path bring you closer to the deep love of God.