For the past few years Lent has been a time of waiting and expectation. Waiting with excitement for the Easter Story, and a huge expectation that my excitement is shared by most Christians. I’ve participated in Lent Courses both offline and online. I’ve read Lent books and been involved in online activities such as with i-church, #bigbible #bigread12 and now #bigread13. I seem to jump in at the deep end without thinking, finding myself over committed to the extent that the excitement and expectation was overtaken by the ‘doing’ leaving little time for reflection on the whole mystery of the incarnation.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been a little naive about the whole business of Lent. I thought that it needed me to do more, to prepare, to be ready. To join in with others sharing that excitement and expectation to be ‘part of it all’. But, I’ve taken pause for thought, because I saw something from Stephen Cherry has published a blog on being ‘unbusy’ for lent. His blog gives examples of it working with extracts from other bloggers or readers of his blog who are following the #notbusy trail.
So, I decided to test the #notbusy thing starting this Monday. A little late, but better than never.
Monday is generally a busy day. Shopping, recycling, catching up on neglected housework and this week, complicated as my spouse is at home for two weeks holiday, and of course, wants some attention as well. I found that the best time to be unbusy was first thing in the morning. After getting up, feed-the cats (a priority every morning) I took half an hour for reflection on #Lent and what it means to me.
It seemed to work because my mind strayed to Psalm 91 (not the set reading for morning prayer that day). And verse 1 and 2 just seemed to fit:
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.
I had been thinking of #notbusy and here was scripture telling me to rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Affirmation of a sort that my thoughts about taking that time out for reflection were in fact valid and would be beneficial.
Subsequently, I’ve been taking that quiet 30 minutes, just being #notbusy and letting my mind stray here and there. It’s covered lots of ground. Vocation, lack of direction, the course that I’m currently doing and some of the content on Ephesians and a whole host of other daily things, but never anything that could be described as ‘normal cares or woes’. Somehow, God has taken that space and has given me his time to pull me here and there. This morning it was Proverb 31 – and Verse 9 struck me.
9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. This is something that I have been praying about and particularly the effects of the Governments austerity- policies on the country. God is echoing my own concerns.
I think that Stephen Cherry has got something here – #notbusy was something I did sporadically, now it will become a daily exercise. God speaks to us, and #notbusy gives us the chance to listen. God be praised.