After forty plus years as a minister, I can say with some certainty that the greatest flaw within the Church is its inability to name or claim conflict, let alone to even attempt to creatively resolve one. The Church does not seek to love the enemy, but pretends no enemy even exists. For this reason the Church does not mature, and the faith it tries to actualize is often childish and crude.
Conflict is the pulse of maturation, and maturing is the equivalent of being spiritual. Both maturation and spirituality recognize the delicate balance of Life and Death, humanity and divinity, good and evil, but most of all, stagnation and creativity. Void of conflict, our lives are nothing more than a marching in place in quicksand.
Lent is rooted in creative conflict. It is a battle to find genuine meaning and real hope. Even the ground of Grace carries within it a potential quaking, the shaking of our foundations. Lent rocks the boat, and calls upon us to repent and change and open our souls to transformation. Lent is a time of scrutiny and examination, and asking ourselves the tough questions as to how we must change.
Lent is a long slog. It is not a stroll. It is a hike in search of hope. It is a prowling after that which will lift our spirits and our “game”, and bring out our very best. Lent is a journey and a pilgrimage and a sojourn of the soul.
Lent doesn't prepare us for a “jellybean & chocolate bunny” Easter. Lent has been a long march, and a passionate search for a point and a purpose to our lives. Lent is the time of last suppers and crosses, and the great conflict of facing the scalding truth about our Selves. Lent is when we try to catch the wind, and tame the chaos.
Lent breaks a sweat and makes the heart ache. Lent kneads the soul back into shape, and fires it in a furnace of service and sacrifice. Lent is when we hear again of the behaviors required of a disciple. Lent is the surrender of following. Lent is a beginning and not an ending.
O, Lord of Lent, be the ropes of the ring which will define the space where conflict can be fairly and safely waged. Let the winner and the loser both have their fists held aloft, and may the peace won be eternal. Amen.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.