Lent is a season of clarity. We already sit among the ashes. We already sit in cities made in our own image.
But the Word comes nevertheless, not in an earthquake or fire or rushing wind, but in this man, Jesus the Christ. And he offers himself to us; eat from me, drink from me.
Unless we hold God’s will as Christ held his Father’s, our gifts corrupt. They grow into the most sinister of idols, more powerful than the Baals.
When I walk him to school, and remember the proper procedure, I ask him to teach me their prayers. It changes frequently, alighting upon virtues and visions, my wife’s butterfly spirituality passing down to our son. As he teaches me their prayer, a common refrain rolls across his lips, “Lord, help me be bold and courageous.”
Here we see the peril and the promise called-ones. The twelve come. They gather the stones at your feet. They heap those stones, stones of remembrance, stones your children’s children will ask about. But the names and the images of the called-ones are forgotten. They are wiped away like rough edges of stone in the bed of the Jordan. The priests are silent while the stones cry out.
Called-ones, could you wish for this?
We carry our great preachers around in the corners of our soul. They wait there to surprise us. They wait there to revive us.