To think that a mere forty days of Lent once seemed an arduous journey.
Who could have guessed at the outset of Lent 2020 how long the desert sojourning would last? That those forty days would be followed by forty more, and forty more, and so on and so forth until . . . Lent x 10. By my calculations—yes, I’m counting—by the time Easter arrives, it will have been about 400 days since the end of the world as most of us knew it.
Patience worn out by the journey, anyone? Disgusted with the wretched sickness and death? Starving for face-to-face conversations . . . shared meals . . . meetings that are not virtual? Longing to hold a newborn, tickle a toddler, give your grandparents a hug?
From this vantage point, we might wonder if the Israelites were too quick to classify their desert complaining as sinful. After all, our friends the psalmists had no problem loudly sharing their every thought with God. If complaint and lament are where we are at, shouldn’t we be honest with God? Trusting that somehow, we know not how, God can take it.
We know not how? Let’s be honest. Where did we begin this Lenten journey? And with whom? In the desert. With Jesus. He gets it.
Long and painful as the road to Jerusalem was, his undying words are soothing balm: The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone. Jesus spoke this way, and we believe him.
Deep into this present and seemingly continuous Lent, Easter is on the horizon. Honest to God, we are not alone. Never have been and never will be.