To have faith is to recognize that our waiting is a time of pregnancy. Mary teaches us how our waiting becomes the labor of the gospel in our lives. It’s not that God only comes to those who have faith. That’s not it at all. Our faith isn’t the permission God needs to get involved with us. God doesn’t wait for our faith or ask for permission. Instead, to have faith is to know that God waits with us. To have faith is to recognize that this laborious waiting is the coming of God. Our travail is the coming of God. We are overflowing with God, whether we believe it or not. God’s new life is always about to happen, even when it seems impossible.
This picture is of a page in a 1952 book called A New Way of the Cross, illustrated by John Andrews. Each station of the cross has a beautiful drawing and most feature hands or feet. Here, Simeon's hands help bear some of the cross's weight.
I'll link here to today's online reading from the British Jesuits who produce Pray-As-You-Go, a daily online audio devotional, which is always excellent and has been particularly so this Lenten season.
A couple years ago (2009), I was asked to give a Lenten devotional talk at my church on the topic of silence and solitude as spiritual practice, integrating the text of Matthew 6:25-34. Since then a number of people have asked me for copies of this talk. It is again Lent so here is the talk as an audio file for those who may want to listen. Please note this is a "practice" recording and not a recording from the talk given in real time.
Yesterday, Ash Wednesday. The service at my church was in the evening and when I looked at the calendar late in the afternoon found that it was half hour earlier than I thought. I hadn't yet come to the stopping point in my work project and had no dinner plan and would have to rush to get there on time and it looked cold outside and I was tired. So many reasons to stay home. I told myself that individual devotion was what mattered, and that I could as easily attend to the reminder of Ash Wednesday (From dust you came and to dust you will return) and the call of Ash Wednesday (Repent and believe) at home. But I went. Sitting in the pews with others who had probably also rushed to get there; listening together to the spoken Word; standing in a long line to receive the streaks of ash (the burned byproduct of palms waved by this same group the Palm Sunday before) and the bread and the cup; watching the children and the teens; bearing each other's burdens in post-service conversation and with promises to pray, I was reminded. We're in this together.