I mentioned last week that all journeys towards truth and reconciliation begin with confession. In the wilderness, we see even Jesus knew this to be true. While Jesus may not have had a list to bring to God about all of the things he had done wrong, he still begins his ministry with serious self-examination and prayer and intention.
This is what we do with Lent. After we confess, we neither leave what we confess and never pick it up, nor do we spend the next 6 weeks feeling guilty.
We sit with it. We sit with ourselves. We are present to who we are – the good and the bad. And we ask God to work in those areas where we are not fully reconciled.
We spend so much time running from our pain, sin, hurt, and brokenness. Or perhaps we spend a lot of time with it and give it way to much power. We feel guilty and agonize over it.
In Lent we do neither.
In confession, I no longer run from the darkness I am embrace it. I do not lay the darkness down, I lay down its power. I place it at the foot of the cross so it loses power and I am able to embrace it.
Lent helps us realize the old hurts and wounds, the current shortcomings, the suffering, the difficulty: They all belong.
These things happened and they are true about us, so we need to stop running from them. But they carry the potential for God to do something amazing. So in Lent, we let the darkness belong. It has a place, but a proper place. And its transformation may take a long time. Which is why Lent is long and slow.
So for now, we sit with our darkness. We give it a place. We let it belong.
And we see what God will do.