O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvellous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.*
O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time on and for evermore.
This is being a strange Lent. You would almost think Holy Saturday had come early. The Holy Spirit’s wind seems to scour a barren expanse, like the surface of some far off, unexplored moon. Christ’s warmth, his living voice, seems more like a memory…
So much is happening that I cannot name, cannot even see clearly. It’s as though there is a ferment of change, and something like growth, that is occurring in a place inaccessible to my mind – to my conscious mind at least. Can you imagine something that is going on illuminated by a light imperceptible to your eyes? Ultraviolet, perhaps, or lower down the frequency spectrum: infrared, or radio waves? Somehow, I know that I am not supposed to peer too closely, that I am merely to trust.
Change the metaphor. A gardener prepares his vegetable plot. He marks out the ground, digs it over, breaks down the clods with his fork, and finally rakes the soil level. Now he can sow his seeds. He covers them over, waters them in. Now it is late autumn, getting on towards winter. For months now, he will do nothing. The beds lie quiet under frost and wind, rain and snow. There is nothing to see. And yet the gardener must trust the long process of vernalisation. How can do nothing. If he digs up the seeds to see what’s going on he will destroy them. He must wait, leaving it all up to weather and time. Come the spring there will be shoots. In the end, harvest.
How hard it is to wait! How I long to answer the anxious questions of friends, to speak of purpose and intention, to say something inspiring. I am dumb and helpless, foolish and indecisive. This seem not to worry God.
Pray for me – I’d appreciate that.