The local weekly includes a column, Voices of Faith, featuring articles on a rotating basis from leaders of faith communities in town. This past week's entry came from Rev. Nick Morris-Kliment, Associate Rector at Trinity Episcopal Church in Concord, MA.
With Nick's permission I'm sharing his article here. You might want to put your boots on before walking through it! At the end of the piece Nick offers some good questions for us to take to our 10 minutes of prayer today. As the title indicates, this might be a good exercise in keeping our prayer real!
KEEPING IT REAL
As the Christian season of Lent begins, my mind wanders to the blessed memory of Jeanne Kershaw, a beloved member of our parish who died not too many years ago.
Jeanne was one of my touchstones for how I was doing in the pulpit and in my ministry in general.
Jeanne’s mantra was, “Keep it real.” I always heard her imperative as a question: Was I addressing life as it really was? Or was I content to glide along the surface of things?
“Real” often can mean messy.
Most of us like our religion neat, however. Part of our attraction to faith is that it helps us keep order. It helps us to make meaning in the face of lives, both out in the world and within our souls, that can overwhelm, anger, and frighten us.
But Lent is about keeping it real. For those of us who make use of the rhythms of the Church year to deepen our faith, we have this annual opportunity to recommit ourselves to keeping our faith facing life as it really is, and learning to trust that Christ is waiting for us in the mess.
A vivid image of this truth comes from a book named A Season for the Spirit, by a former Anglican monk (yes, we have those) named Martin Smith.
Smith writes about an experience he had as a schoolboy interested in the local history of his birthplace in England.
The lore said the area was home to a holy spring that had been a pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages. Pilgrims came in search of healing from the waters there. Modern explorations had yielded not a trace of the place. Undeterred, the young Martin went to the area where tradition had placed the spring. Hours of searching in a tidy, picturesque spot produced no results. A hunch directed him toward a small herd of cows standing a short distance away, atop a fetid patch of mud. A few minutes of digging revealed a platform and wooden pipe out of which flowed pure, clear water.
For those so inclined during this season, we might ask ourselves:
Where is my mud patch?
What do I need to dig up?
Could I find a spring of living water deep within?
Could God be waiting there to quench my thirst?
Buried within the mud patch of reality in our lives, the living God awaits us, to love us, and to prepare our hearts to love others.
- Rev. Nicholas Morris-Kliment
Are you new to "Praying 10 Minutes a Day in Lent" - or are you having trouble getting started? The first installment offers some thoughts on getting started, as do the subsequent posts in the series. So take a look and join us!
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