Ash Wednesday left me feeling inspired that my observance of Lent would grant me greater clarity as I let go of distracting habits of mind and burdensome behaviors weighing heavily against a closer walk with God. There was much promise and hope in my heart in those early days following Ash Wednesday. But then the Coronavirus crept into the sanctuary, emptying the pews, and scattering the community of believers like dry leaves in a chill winter wind. On the one hand, my mind grasped the science of what was unfolding, or rather unraveling, with greater intensity each passing day. But, at some point, unnoticed by me, my heart must have stopped, skipping a beat, perhaps more than one, and the ensuing darkness then closed in around me, and the flame that had lit up hope in me on Ash Wednesday flickered briefly and then was extinguished. I let drop from my weak hand all my resolve for observing an unobscured journey through the days and weeks of Lent. I turned away from Jesus so easily and mindlessly, then pressed my gaze upon the shadow plays of the world, Jesus seeming a distant, unapproachable memory. I feel so very lost, living out these rainy days in quiet seclusion, waiting for the next turn of disquieting events. Am I a lost sheep, one of many wandered away from safety by distraction? God only knows. But I pray that I will see emerge, even here, in the very midst of this maelstrom, the One who commands the earth and the stars. Lord have mercy on us, call us home to you, beckon us back to safety, please show us once again that you truly are the way and the life, the light of the world. Amen.
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