Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday

12:15, CafĂ© @ RMIT. I went to Mass at 7:15, had a breakfast meeting with another chaplain at 8:30: then a meeting with International Student Support people at 10 and two quick meetings to touch base following that. It’s good to sit down, grab a sandwich and breathe.

So Jesus goes to the desert and we follow. And I remember visiting a friend in the Nevada desert some years ago who told me that there was a different beauty there, “There are flowers here, lovely ones, but you have to look!” And when I got over the expectation of green trees and flowers, ideals and images from the gardens I knew, I found she was right. There was another style of grace, new blossoms in the shade of rocks, hidden green leaves, soft growth, bright surprises that I hadn’t seen at first, because I was looking for something bigger, more easily categorized, closer to what I had known before. That’s the wrong focus for the desert, you have to see more than you look for, you have to prepare to be surprised by the small bright spots, the ones that aren’t domesticated yet. It’s time to learn from the wild animals and the foreign foliage in an unknown wider landscape, That is one of the ways to meet the desert.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Lenten Leanings

So Shrove Tuesday comes, and what do I want from Lent this year? How do I meet Jesus and the wilderness and the wild animals, prepare for Jerusalem and Golgotha and what comes after?

There are always the eternal list of to-do’s and should-do’s (both “spiritual” and “practical”) that follow around me, but I think the main task will be to take up the task my spiritual director recommended 25 years ago: a weekly or monthly one page reflection on “what I believe”, a summary of my operational theology. This year it will be a bit more often and sustained – maybe six weeks of reconnoitering around the questions concerned with where I find my faith (and doubt) right now, connecting it with the past, and moving towards the future.

I’m not thinking of a systematic theology, but just taking time to reflect on where my life finds meaning and grace at present and how that connects with the vows I made at Baptism over forty years ago. We’ll see where it goes, but a lot of it will go into the blog.

I’ve neglected this for the last year, and it was important to me before that; but four people have mentioned reading it in the last few weeks, so maybe it’s time to put some effort into Chaplinesque – here we go again!