The theme of Lent is preparation for Easter---preparation for real life. Lent is a special time for me because it allows me a chance again to re-engage a process of making something out of life. Maybe you are like me. I get disgusted at myself when I make life worse rather than better. Lent is always that time and opportunity to listen to God saying, “Oh, you really can do better. Come on, now!”
A key to this process is to let God come into our inner world and reshape us---remodel us. In one sense, when we allow this divine Spirit into our inner world, we become an artist of the Spirit. Unlike a scientist who may be handed a manual, the Spirit grants experiences out of which we make life – make it better or worse.
Albert Einstein pursues this image in this one-liner. He says, “the greatness of an artist lies in the building of an inner world, and in the ability to reconcile this inner world with the outer.” Our inner worlds are built. They are like a house, which will be built. Sometimes, the house is pretty inadequate. It may be thrown up – no real foundation and little protection from the weathering life inevitably brings. A house is a very good metaphor to think about what the season of Lent builds.
Lent is a time of building our inner world so that our dwelling place will be a place of security and comfort. Who wants to live in a house where you are afraid the thing will collapse with the slightest wind? Lent is the time to examine the foundation of our lives. If need be, it is another chance to lay a good foundation.
I can ask a series of questions. Is my life of prayer solid and capable of supporting me through the storms of the seasons? Some houses are infested with termites or other critters. Is my life infested? Is it polluted? Have I regularly taken out the garbage? Spiritual foundations are probably as crucial as building foundations.
This is also a time of checking my insulation so that I may be warm and cozy in the midst of the cold and sometimes brutality of the world’s winter. The weather is not always perfect and neither is life. Cold winds will blow our way. However, God is love and that love generates heat. We will be given this divine heat. May our inner world be insulated to conserve this warm energy.
Finally, Lent is a time to check our doors and windows. Probably not one of us is a hermit…buried deep in the woods or mountains out of sight. What happens when visitors into our lives appear? When they peer into the window of my soul, what do they see? Our inner world needs to be reconciled with our outer world. Are my doors such that I can invite friends into the beauty of my inner world?
I think I have some remodeling to do! In my case, it is likely more than just a housecleaning. In this Lenten season may God give you and me courage to remodel and patience to stay with it. And then may I experience the delight of opening my doors to any and all and say, “Welcome!”