…does God really listen?.. can / does he change his mind once he has listened to our account, our understanding of our life & faith story so far ? Lent is the season of listening..him of you..you of him.. “the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all things of the flesh” ..a new agreement, a covenant relationship which, if you agree to its terms & conditions, gives you every benefit & not one penalty.. & for so many years we’ve been led to believe in & expect the thunder clouds rather than the rainbow.. ..trained to give up things for Lent & telling me “Sundays don’t count in the 40days Fr Bede so we can have sweets chocolate & fun on Sundays in Lent” ..& my response?..you can & should have fun every day in Lent..it is a “ joyful season”.. our Mass prayers tell it..how’s that for a shock to the system 4days into Lent!
..for living & working the system instead of enjoying the moment let us ask for Our Lords forgiveness & smile.. “..in your love remember me..” ; Lord have mercy “..remember your mercy Lord..” ; Christ have mercy “..Lord teach me your paths, help me walk in your truth..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..did he walk or was he pushed?..Jacob Zuma last Wednesday & Jesus Christ in gospel.. “the Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness”..haunt of evil spirits..he didn’t go of his own choice; he was driven sent reluctantly..inevitably cautious frightened unaware of what he would find or what would find him..& it doesn’t take long before Satan found him & offered him the ultimate temptation..to gain control..Fr Richard Rohr Franciscan asks what is the opposite to love?..a no brainer ; opposite to love is hate; however Fr Richard suggests opposite to love is control..is [or was] your Lent to have been one of control?..setting seeing & keeping to resolutions & feeling shame/ guilt when we give way & disappoint the divine controller?..or are next 36days to be an opportunity to live like & deepen like never before?..Lent a season of service & self sacrifice as Our Lord himself showed us in his servant discipleship..last wk leading St Benedict’s vith form Bradford retreat watched “the Shack” I would love you to see it 2hrs long one evg in Lent if you’d like to come?..a father in search of his lost abducted youngest daughter meets, through a journey beyond a broken down shack in a wilderness, the three persons of God ..he spends time with each of them in a Lenten like experience as they carefully gently teach explain a step on his journey towards reaching his daughter now safe in heaven..the crucial barrier for him, preventing full reconciliation with her, was he had to learn to let go of his judgementalism & his woundedness at what life & individuals had inflicted on him..”letting go in love” to hand in the keys,handcuffs & charge sheet..the evidence that proves your innocence & your opponents guilt..instead to offer them the smile & yourself 40days of opportunity not 40yrs of imprisonment..like every gospel story, if you read it in richness Jesus has always wanted you to understand it, there is never a final chapter..he wants you to write in your own ending from your life experience..& so too “the Shack” you need to watch it, to gradually recognise yourself in it & then discover your own Lent challenge & potential through it..& having whet your appetite it would be a shame to say more..”do you believe in reincarnation?” one of questions vith form subsequently put to me..no to coming back as a spider or antelope but certainly yes to being reincarnated.. reborn into that fullness of divinity we enjoyed before we were made flesh, a divinity we are growing into daily, especially each Lent, in preparation for our own “end of life care” as the NHS now call it & we embrace it, like them, with love sensitivity & care..a Good Friday moment at end of a Lenten journey in life & faith as we prepare a loved one, & eventually ourself, for fullness of reincarnation on Easter night..surely the transfiguration moment..in Our Lords wilderness / desert in gospel, in our lonely moments when life & its experiences push us out there where we would rather not go, no shade no precautions no protective clothing, a Lent moment of naked truth where we “find ourselves” rather like man in film, stripped of foolishness pretence role play & excuse, & especially of the devils greatest weapon..our self guilt.. “I’m not good enough”..if you heard & only half listened to that gospel story I’ve just read, it can all sound to be plain sailing, an ordinary Lent, going through the motions, tick box religious practice..Satan O Jesus Christ 3..an inevitable away win..”he was with the wild beasts & the angels looked after him” the few animals of desert knew him, neither he nor they posed a threat for the other, mutual respect interest & care..a glimpse perhaps into your way of life out there, where the Holy Spirit drives nudges you into moments & places of encounter with the world & its empty promises to take & to be in control, to fight stumble & pray your way not just to God but beyond God, to find a beloved person & to discover reconciliation..to make use of God to achieve the ultimate control & answer..& our usual Lenten resolutions sadly are our baby steps in a journey towards our own Shack of destruction loss & self guilt, when the real Lent & real Jesus are inviting us beyond into Galilee..the land & practice of freedom where, when & if we surrender our own comfort blanket road map& soul map & step out, what comes will come seen..will you walk or wait to be pushed? [1stLent YrBMk1;12-15]