Saturday, March 11, 2006

Whatever happened to the wilderness?

CME today (reflections on poetry, which I'll blog about later...still chasing a few concepts around the place right now) and it was, as ever, good to spend time with the cohort, many of whom have supported and accompanied me since I began training 5 years ago. Someone commented that we all looked ashen, and certainly the prevailing feeling was excessive weariness. Two of us have heavy issues we are carrying for friends or family, but several of us are just wiped out with all the extra Lenten activity. The awful thing is that even as I look at my diary and determine that this is ridiculous and something has to give, I know that it's all good stuff in itself. I really truly and desperately want our people at St M's to engage seriously with wide-ranging approaches to prayer in the weeks ahead, and if my turning up at every housegroup is an essential ingredient in achieving this, then I guess I'm ready to do that too.
I'm determined that the families we will invite to worship on Mothering Sunday should not encounter such a very "churchy" expression of church as prevails 51 Sundays of the year...but that means I have to sort out an alternative liturgy. Then in Holy Week, I know that having practical ways to respond to the Stations of the Cross, and resources to help keep the Maundy Watch more meaningfully are likely to help many,- not least myself. But I'll still have to sit down and do some sensible planning.
All of which means that, in the very period when I should be taking time out to actually hear God, I am instead constantly shrieking to him that I can't cope and need him to rescue me.
So, my question to myself and to the church this Lent is "whatever happened to the wilderness?".
What makes us think that we'll be better at hearing God amid manic busy-ness?
Why does it seem impossible to suggest a fast from extra activity as a Lenten discipline? Dare I suggest that instead of a series of Lent talks next year, we embark on a series of Lent listens...or a parish "do nothing" day?
At gd1, the ecumenical youth service tonight, there was a real quality of stillness as some youngsters read Ps 23, verse by verse...There was a table with all sorts of containers of wash for repentence, to recommit by tracing again a baptismal cross, or to drink
"He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul"
I'm weary tonight, Love. I need to drink deep of you.

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