Alas, Lent is here. The season of our Christian calendar of penitent waiting, as opposed to the expectant waiting of Advent and the ordinary waiting of Ordinary Time. Lent is traditionally a time of self-examination and fasting. Many take on a discipline of doing without during Lent. Some take on additional service.
With only minor clarifications, the pandemic has imposed a Lenten experience on all of us, yet instead of the 40 days we Christians observe, it’s been … a lot longer. Been there. Done that. Can we get to Easter already?!
Time and again, we are reminded that the patterns of our own lives are as biblical as those of our Jewish ancestors. Endings and beginnings. Fallow times and yields of great grace. Yes, we are moving forward. Yes, there’s a speck of light ahead. Yes, it’s still Lent. So let us find a way to use this time not to get lost in the difficulty of the journey but to become enlivened in the hope of the destination!
In just this fashion, the Psalms of Ascent came to have their being! Words of the songs, or Psalms from 120-134, comforted our faithful forbears when they returned from exile to their beloved home of Jerusalem, up to Mount Zion.
In the mid 19th Century, composer Felix Mendelssohn was thus inspired—through music and art. Follow along with his Psalm 121 using your favorite translation, or page 779 in the Book of Common Prayer.
In the early 21st Century, how might this Psalm inspire you? Pray that.
*Narrative by Stephanie Shareck Werner, © 2021.