Dear Cathedral Family,
Bishop Russell invited us in his Ash Wednesday sermon to consider how this Lenten season might be a time for us to consider “how to sing a new song.” He reminded us that this whole year has been a time of ashes, as our experience of the pandemic and its attendant cultural and economic crises have caused us continually to “remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return.” That reminder is not, for those of us who live the life of faith, a trigger for despair, but rather a call to consider how best and most fully to live out the time that we are given.
Living fully, as followers of Jesus, is not the same as “getting things done.” So making the most of our time will not be about productivity. This is yet another way in which Christian living is counter-cultural. For us, fullness of life begins by acknowledging to God the Psalmist’s awareness, “My times are in your hand” (31:15), and then asking, “So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” This prayer is asking for the grace of a form in our lives that turns us toward God.
The power of a rule of life is the intentional structure it brings to daily living. Millions of people have found hope and wholeness through the Twelve Steps. Classic rules of life such as the Rule of St. Benedict or the Rule of St. Augustine have been adapted for use “the rest of us” who live in the world. Those of us who have been part of the Cursillo movement have been encouraged to fashion our own rule of life. Many of you may already have such a rule. It doesn’t have to be complex. It can be a simple ordering of one’s days and weeks: regular worship, daily time for quiet and prayer, reading scripture and study, intentional service to others, and attention to rest and the enjoyment of a balanced life.
These forty days can be for us a time for allowing God’s gracious rule to guide our lives and open our hearts and minds to the “new song” that we are called to sing. If you do not have a simple rule of life, I encourage you to begin with a simple order of worship, prayer, and scripture. Then consider how to serve, how to welcome, how to rest and find delight.
After his forty days in the wilderness, Jesus emerged to proclaim the Good News of God, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near.” In following him, we will do the same.
May you know God’s peace,