I think most people can resonate with the wisdom from Ecclesiastes: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” We intuitively know that there must be balance to life, and that there needs to be a sage approach to living-out all of the many responsibilities and duties of this present time. The problem, it seems to me, is not that we don’t recognize the need for movement from one season to another; the issue is that we do not deliberately and intentionally stop one thing and start another – we just keep going. We keep working when we should stop; we continue eating beyond what we know we should; we do not stop yelling, or being angry; we continue in abject furrow-browed seriousness with no end in sight; parents keep treating their adult children like little kids who need their constant guidance; and, churches ensconce a particular time in their history as normative even though it has outlived its shelf life.
The Church Calendar is attentive to the movements and seasons of the Christian life. We are now in the season of Lent. This is the time for healthy soulful introspection, examination of the heart, and repentance which leads to the eventual new life of Easter. It is the time to stop and question why we do what we do – why we cannot stop our compulsions and obsessive behavior. It is the season to feel something of the suffering of Jesus Christ and discern that our salvation was obtained at a very steep cost. It is the time to ponder why we even need deliverance in the first place, and what it is we need to be saved from. Now is the moment for contemplation, fasting, and prayer.
Eternal God, you are infinitely patient with my failings and foibles. As I consider the cross of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit, lead me to Calvary’s mercy and sacrifice. Grace me with the repentance which leads to life. Amen.