I’ve taken on the habit of getting home and turning on the tube (or idiot box as my Dad refers to it) after work these days. Between getting home after dark all winter, being snowed in, and just pure emotional exhaustion from work, it’s all I want to do. The results are a jealous (for time) wife, an extra 15 lbs, and a general disengagement from life. I guess its how I turn it all off, the pain I confront daily. I will admit that it’s a poor coping skill, but I guess it feels better than the alternative—carrying it with me. Nevertheless, I have decided that this, my security blanket of isolation, must be carried to the altar; and Lent has offered me this opportunity.
Much like most seasons of the church calendar, I was not acquainted with Lent before being turned on to the liturgical helps of our faith. It seems a practice that wades against the tides of the outside world. Lent truly stands in opposition to what the world espouses, nature begins to quietly reveal, and our self-gratifying selves might crave. As winter begins to recede and spring encroaches on us, we clothe the altar in black and fast. Alleluia is hidden in the somberness of the reality of our brokenness and sin. We enter into a season of reflection and confession. We are not worthy of our salvation is the only conclusion we must come to in our hearts. This is the point. The world rejoices in the hope of spring, yet we pause to remember and sit in the scarlet squalor that was our pride.
It should not be a false humility nor a self-abasing chastisement, but rather a denial of the common practice of ignoring the reality of our fallen state. “The World goes not well” is this sobering reality. So we fast. We pray. We make confession. We deny ourselves our comforting disengagements to face the world, though the tide ebbs against us. We reacquaint ourselves with the purposes of God: truth, grace, and repentance.
So, I come home and face the brokenness. I fill my time without the anesthetic. Its dull sting reminds me to petition God again for salvation for my family, my friends, my clients, the world, and myself. Yet, I do so not in despair, but rather in light of Easter’s nearing. So let me simply confess that “the world goes not well, BUT the kingdom comes."