By The Rev. Dr. Jason L. Parkin, Rector
What is there in my heart that you should sue
so fiercely for its love? What kind of care
brings you as though a stranger to my door
through the long night and in the icy dew
seeking the heart that will not harbour you,
that keeps itself religiously secure?
At this dark solstice filled with frost and fire
your passion's ancient wounds must bleed anew.
So many nights the angel of my house
has fed such urgent comfort through a dream,
whispered ‘your lord is coming; he is close'
that I have drowsed half-faithful for a time
bathed in pure tones of promise and remorse
‘tomorrow I shall wake to welcome him.'
Geoffrey Hill (1932 - )
Each season of the church year contains some special dynamic that reminds us of just how fiercely God "sues for our love." The promises of Advent that God has not forsaken us, and will come again to bring to fulfillment God's salvation; the headlong plunge into the human experience manifested in the Incarnation; the wondrous unfolding of Jesus' identity and vocation as the Holy One during Epiphany; the absurd joy of new life beyond the tomb on Easter; the unexpected, unearned gift of the Spirit and the opportunity to be driven by it during Pentecost: each season tells us anew of God's persistence, God's hunger for, God's pursuit of the human heart.
Lent is no different. During this holy and poignant time, God sues for our love by calling us back into a deeper relationship, and by nudging us into reflection on who we truly are and how we are walking the road of faith. Although we may associate the words "your lord is coming; he is close" more with Advent than with Lent, one of the recurrent wonders of this season is the growing awareness of just how intimately God is enmeshed in our existence through Jesus, and of the fact that that very intimacy beckons us to self-examination, to prayer, to self-offering, that we might walk ever more closely with God.
‘Tomorrow I shall wake to welcome him." How, during this holy season? Through renewed commitment to prayer and worship? Through some act of sacrifice? Through dedication to a new ministry of service? Through discipline or reading, fasting or generosity?
Let us welcome him who came for us; who empties himself for us; who calls us to be renewed; and who gives us this holy time to be filled with him.