Lenten Reflections: Day Seventeen
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent, we offer reflections from Bread staff and others who faithfully work to end hunger.
Lectionary readings (from the Revised Common Lectionary):
Lent invites us back home to solitude. We all began life in the solitude of the womb, not yet bothered by complicated relationships, possessions, appearances, aspirations, expectations, or fears.
Scientists tell us that amazing awareness and learning occur in the womb. That place of solitude was our sufficient home. We had everything we needed -- secure and protected in love.
But now distractions and busyness tend to rule our lives. Being busy feels like a badge of honor, but it may be an addiction. And the essence of addiction is that the very thing that has stolen our freedom and threatens to destroy us feels like our salvation. We cling to it like a drowning person to a life ring.
So when Lent calls us home to solitude, our impulse is to resist; maybe overtly, but usually just by subtle avoidance. We fail to execute the about-face (repentance) needed to shift from ‘normal’ to moments of solitude.
But the fact that you are reading these words is a good sign. Now that you’re here, take a few minutes to sit still, close your eyes, and pay attention to your breathing. With that action, you have embraced solitude.
Being still, you can hear. So read these thoughts on Psalm 19: 1, 7-9 slowly. The writer tells us:
Here in this desert, …without words… the heavens are telling the glory of God.
Without words, every fiber of our being knows that…
What the Lord says to us here is just right. It revives us to the depths of our
What the Lord says is completely trustworthy. No spin. No hidden meaning. Deeply assuring.
The guidance from God rings so true that in this solitude we smile, or even laugh out loud. On the stream of God’s uncluttered and unqualified love our eyes catch their first glimpse of what justice means.
The respect for God born in us is so deeply rooted in reality that it will last forever. This Lent, welcome the disciplines and gifts of stillness and paying attention.
Michael Smith is the Southeast donor relations representative at Bread for the World.
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