I'm having a hard time getting myself into proper Lenten mode. The last months have seemed like a period of Lent, between dealing with my mother, tornadoes and other difficulties.
Like many in the Episcopal Church, I'm ready for Easter.
I'm sponsoring a woman for confirmation. She's very cool, a former Roman Catholic who's been through a lot and come out strong on the other side. She's not blind to what TEC is going through now, but was drawn because we have a woman as presiding bishop.
I'll call my friend Cat, because she's going through the process.
Cat and I met for dinner yesterday evening, before going to the Ash Wednesday service. I came bearing a necklace for each of us, a cross made of nails bound together with colored wire, hanging from a leather strip. The nails, obvious, the wire to represent the crown of thorns, and the leather to represent the strap; representing Jesus' suffering. Fitting for Lent.
Cat bought my supper. We sat and talked church and politics at Appleby's after fighting time and traffic to get there, then got to the service a few minutes late and unrepentant about it, wearing our new Lenten necklaces.
One of those great God moments happened during the service. The priest called us to a moment's silent meditation. As we all sat quietly, a little boy, maybe four years old, started telling his mother, "I love you. I love you. I love you," over and over again, in the sweet little piping voice children that age can have. In the sanctuary's silence, everyone heard it.
It struck me, it's not just this little boy talking to his mother. It's the Holy Spirit talking to us all (or perhaps all of us who need to hear it -- and who doesn't?) through that little boy's voice.
A small, quiet voice. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. That's what we heard.
Thank you Lord, for hearing our needs and loving us through our weaknesses.
Help me to love as you do. Give me the strength to be a better person than I am.