Forgetting Lent (we are christened)

The other night, we all gathered into our room, chairs in a circle, chalkboard covered in quote-scribbles, eyes a little glossed over from the weight of the day still dragging behind us.

But we gathered in still, and we spent ten minutes in quiet contemplation.

Ten minutes in silence, nothing but our body shifting and light scribbling sounding off the walls and windows.

In that quiet, God spoke, the way that He often does when we stop our voices and let everything settle down, into the holy part of that moment, of that space in time.

He called me christened, and while I’ve heard it time and again, I didn’t really know, couldn’t really remember what it was for.

So I asked Google, and Google told me:

christen: give to (someone or something) a name that reflects a notable quality or characteristic.

I knew the names of my boys while they were still rolling around in my womb. I knew Isaiah was Isaiah, and I knew Eliot was Jon Eliot.

And I know I have a name, I know I am called something by people who love me, but being christened means that there’s a name deeper in me, embedded into my being, into my heart and soul, that marks my path and my breath.

It’s a holy name, called in the quiet parts, called out in spaces like the one the other night, the one where I got quiet and listened.

We’re still in the Lenten season, even though I feel like I abandoned it weeks ago, forgetting what it’s all for. It seems we just wait for Easter to come along, and then we all nonchalantly exclaim, “Oh, right! He’s risen.”

But there is a journey from here to there, a path we’re walking, a death we’re mourning, a life we’re stepping flesh and blood into.

So we must keep reminding ourselves of Lent.

Because everything here is so quick, so saturated and full and bustling and brightly lit, that we forget what we’ve decided in the quiet of the heart, we forget the name we’re called by.

We forget that we’re beloved.

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We made airplane wings out of cardboard a few weeks ago, and the boys flew around the apartment, flew to continents and sight words, flew to every outer wall of their imagination. They flew and I’d call their names and they’d come flying back home to me.

And here we are, each one of us, soaring and stopping and moving, back and forth, over and under. Sometimes it’s the delight of the travel, and sometimes we can barely remember to breathe.

But we’re christened.

We’re called back home again, again and again and again, into the embrace of the Father, into the embrace of the Lenten King whose every ounce of being breathes life into us.

So remind us again, Jesus.

Let us see into who You were then, in those momentous days leading up to Your glory-death and glory-resurrection.

And let us see into who You are today, the words You’re speaking into us and the fresh breath that’s sifting through our faculties–

give us the purest of who you are, the truest parts of Your heart.

We remember today that Lent is for remembering, and we yearn for the yearning that Lent creates in our broken places.

You, our Lord, are holy.

You, our Lord, somehow make us so.

Hallelujah and Amen, for Lent and all its fullness, for the grace and promise of flight.

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