A friend recently sent me this picture of myself. It was taken 2 years ago while I was assembling the giant Christmas tree at the library.
Some of the calendars of our differing liturgical traditions call the period leading to Lent Ordinary Time, and some call it Epiphany. Either way, we are now heading in a new direction, with a new emphasis: Lent.
Lent is a time of turning. We turn from our sins. We turn to God. We turn away from the exterior sensory world and into our inner persons, putting aside superfluous distractions. Liturgically, we turn from the gold and glitz of Christmas, from the sweet perfume of the Epiphany, and to the stark, sometimes lonely world of Lent, when the Church has dressed herself in purple. (Or ash and ox blood, which I happen to like.) We turn also to sacred scripture, because there is found the ancient tradition, repeated time and time again through history, of turning from ourselves to God.
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendour.The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, 'Glory!'
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever.
May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!
(Psalm 29, NRSV)
May we all hear the voice of the Lord as we turn this Lent.
From what are you turning this Lent, and to what are you turning in its stead?
The Infant, clad in a purple cope
Pax et bonum.