Making Room for the Holy

Shannon Gammon Articles, Carla Aday

My day begins with Wordle. If there is time, the crossword mini. Then a glance at three newspapers. And a peek at Instagram (mostly to spy on my son, but don’t tell him) where I sometimes get lost in the recipes and fashion advertisements. Then email and the day is off and running. My point is that we are immersed in information, bombarded with more of it all day long until we fall asleep and get up and begin again.

Lately, I’ve had this haunting feeling. Didn’t the war in Ukraine happen just about this time last year? (Yes, on Feb. 24). And wasn’t it about two years ago when the US capital was invaded (yes on Jan. 6). And wasn’t it about 3 years ago this time of year when we started hearing about something called “coronavirus” which quickly shut down the world in the way we had come to know it (yes, March 10). So how do we make room in our lives to process the emotional toll and reflect? Is it possible for us to recognize how our spiritual lives have been both rattled and renewed?

In a recent interview with Brene Brown, rock star Bono mused about how he finds himself more and more drawn into formal sacred spaces. He finds himself going into the back of cathedrals and discovering the power of metaphors and symbols. What if the purpose of our faith is less about indoctrinating us and more about creating a sacred space inside of us where we can reflect on the mystery of life?

In the season of Lent, we remember that Jesus withdrew for 40 days to reflect. If Jesus needed to ponder and pray in order to let God’s love come to life in his flesh, then surely we do too. I don’t know what Lent looks like for you: giving up chocolate, adding a daily reading, gathering on Sunday to sing and say the Lord’s Prayer with fellow travelers on the journey, saying yes to service, or lighting a candle each morning to pray. The important part is not the discipline itself but rather making more room inside of us for the holy to dwell.

Lent means to lengthen. Not just longer days of springtime but a springtime of the soul where there is an expansiveness to the human heart. Jesus suggested a way to get there that is counterintuitive ‘Whoever tries to save his life will lose it”. And Paul said that it isn’t about getting something more for me but rather “Do not look only to your own interests but to the needs of others”.

Lent distills the Christian faith. Rather than taking in more, we are invited to release our grip and rest in God’s infinite love.

Grace and Peace,