Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Obvious Tension

The season of Lent brings a host of tensions- winter/spring, dormancy/vibrancy, grey sky/blue, and probably the most dramatic, death / life. I think the "church inventors" of Lent recognized the richness of this tension and ran with it. It is so obvious. It reminds me when someone says "man, even a blind man can see that." Did you catch that? That was another tension-blindness/sight. I told you. You can't get away from it. It is obvious.

The problem I have is I don't think about the obvious so much. It's too, well, obvious. It is too simple, not challenging enough. The obvious does not pull me into my creative thinking. The obvious does not call for me to analyze, struggle, keep me awake at night, ignite my endorphins or create stress. The obvious does not do these things for me but tension does.

On this first day of Lent, Henry Nouwen calls on us to be kingly aware of the tension that is specific to our story as followers of Christ. He wants us to consider the tension between our "sin" and our loving Lord, between death and life. I like that tension. Well, honestly I like and hate it at the same time (there it is again, another tension- like/hate). I like it for the reasons I mentioned above. It gets me going. I don't like it, hate it much of the time, because it seems I live in that tension each day between life and death or not to be too dramatic, between life and dormancy. I like to think I choose life and sometimes I do, but I am also too familiar with choosing dormancy.

I hope during this season of Lent I will choose the obvious, I will choose life more than dormancy. That is my prayer.

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