…finding all things made new
We’re on our Lenten journey once again.
We’ve been here before, we’ve travelled this road so many times, so that we might think we know the road ahead, that it holds no surprises. That we don’t need to pay attention, like we could sleepwalk our way to Easter.
It’s been said that if you repeat something over and over again it loses its meaning. If you’ve ever tried it, you will know it’s true. The meaning of the word is lost and instead you become aware of the sound of the word, the pattern of a phrase, it becomes like music.
A man spoke of suffering with asthma from being a small boy of five. Whenever he was having an attack and had no medication to hand, he was taught a phrase which he was to repeat over and over again.
“It is passing, it is passing, it is passing…”
Simply saying the words was supposed to force the event into reality. During one attack when he was about 13 in the middle of a forest, he had left his medication at home. His friend cycled back to town to get help while the boy lay on the ground repeating those words over and over.
Once inside the rhythm of the mantra the words began to disappear, passing over from the conscious world into the unconscious. Slowly he began to feel the muscles in his chest relaxing, buying him time until the moment his friend would return with help.
The words themselves may have lost their meaning in one respect, but in another they became more powerful, affecting not simply his mind, his mood and his outlook, but bringing physical relaxation which allowed him to keep breathing until help came.
When we repeat an action over and over it could be said to become habit, not simply the action itself, but a way of being, a way of life.
As we make this Lenten journey yet again, in one sense, yes it’s the same old routine, the well-trodden path we’ve trod over and over. And yet the journey itself is forming us, making us different, making us new, showing us something about what it is to live, to follow along the path of the one who gives life, the one who is life.
So as we journey on, yes there will be so much that is familiar, known, routine. But in the re-making of this journey, may we also become aware of new meaning in travelling this road. May we know the prayerful pattern of the way we travel, the shaping of ourselves as we become the people God has called us to be. And in the re-tracing of an old journey may we find ourselves being made new.