Ascent Into Darkness

The room is bathed in a heavy golden light. I can feel the warmth of it, even though there are walls between me and the source.

I’m thinking about hell. 

The darkness that Jesus descended into after He finished the work of the cross. This time between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, these forty hours, is where the season of Lent, as we know it today, began. A forty-hour fast, mirroring the time Christ spent in the grave. In the darkness, separated from God.

For my sin.

I began observing Lent a few years ago during a time when I was entering my own period of darkness. Through various sources, God began to show me that there is a rhythm to His days. Just as He created the seasons, Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, there are seasons to our walk with Him. There is more to celebrate than Christmas and Easter.

I began learning about “ordinary days” – which aren’t ordinary at all. I saw that each moment, each day, is sacred when we invite God to be actively involved. 

This isn’t easy with the lives we have and the culture in which we live. It takes attention and a measure of discipline. This is where a yearly observance of Lent can be helpful in our spiritual journey.

It is a time of emptying. A time of sorrow over the cause of Christ’s death.

My sin.

For me – a non-churched in the ways of Lent person – fasting {or giving something up} is not the point of Lent. Instead, during these 40 days, I focus on creating space in my life for more of Him. Some years I’ve had to give up something to create that space, other years it has meant simply a shift in my focus. Either way, it is about spending time with Jesus.

In Kimberlee Conway Ireton’s book The Circle of Seasons, she writes:

During Lent, we get to journey with Jesus as He makes His way to Jerusalem for the last time. What better songs to sing in this season than these Psalms of Ascent, sojourning songs of the faithful? What better way to prepare for the Triduum than to meditate on these pilgrim songs, songs our Lord Himself sang as He climbed the mountain of the Lord, to offer Himself as our Passover lamb?

I agree. The Psalms of Ascent add a musical backdrop to the Lenten journey. In 2016, I wrote a series of meditations on these fifteen psalms. Over the next five weeks, as we journey toward Psalm Sunday, I’ll be sharing them again in this space.

I hope you’ll join me.

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