Lent is less for giving up, and more for making space. We make space to contemplate what it is that we will celebrate in 40 days’ time. We make space to recognise our faults. We pray a little more. We allow our emptier stomachs to remind us of the pithiness of our observations in comparison with real hunger. We give more money. We confess. We reconcile. We listen to emptiness for a while. We do not say Alleluia.I have trouble with space. Because with space comes quiet, and the quiet makes me nervous. If you've known me for any length of time, you know I tend to ramble once I start talking about anything of length. This is either because I mistake your courtesy laughs for genuine enjoyment, or I'm afraid of the inevitable awkward silence that will follow my babbling.
I especially hate making space and quiet for God. If you make space for God and take the time to try and listen, there's always the potential for him to show up. When he shows up, he brings conviction with him. Of course, he also brings grace and hope, but we cannot appreciate this until we have peered into the emptiness and realized we are nothing.
Of course, there is also the risk of him leaving us alone for awhile in the awkward silence and empty space. Either option - being met immediately or being left to wait - forces me to recognize the the fact that he is in control, and I am nothing but a sinner who cannot save himself.
Like I said, I have trouble with space.
A Prayer For The Fifth Day Of Lent
Lord, create a space for us to reflect on our fallen nature and our need for a savior. We pray for courage to peer into the dark corners of the awkward silences, and we pray that you will meet us there. We are quiet before you.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer
-Ben Reed, February 22, 2010