Yesterday at noon, a dozen of us gathered around the fountains to begin our Ash Wednesday service. It was an outdoor service, designed to be an ‘enactment’ of our journey through Lent – we journeyed from the fountains to the bell tower, to the center of the Labyrinth and back out again. It went pretty much as I expected.
What I didn’t expect was how real our enactment would be. In order to gather around the fountains, we had to step carefully through downed branches and over broken twigs. All around us was evidence of the frailty of life, how quickly and capriciously it can all come crashing down. As we saw the limbs lying in piles around us, we were reminded of our own mortality. Then, as we approached the Labyrinth, parts of it were still covered with a bit of debris, so we shortened our walk and turned back around. How often do we come face to face with difficulties and challenges that deter us from following our life’s journey toward its intended destination?
Meanwhile, all around us were signs of life continuing on, as if nothing had happened, as if there had not been a winter ice storm, as if this Wednesday were no different from any other Wednesday. Construction crews across the highway kept working. The sun was shining clear and hot and bright. Peach trees and Pear trees were beginning to blossom. The world was carrying on.
It was exactly the ‘enactment’ of the Journey of Lent we needed it to be. Thanks be to God!