Come and see!” The words of excitement spilled out like water bubbling over rocks. It was the first day that spring seemed like it might actually come — the first robins had been sighted, and we were able to rush outside without our winter coats. There in a bush right by the entrance to our sanctuary was the nest, woven of twigs and grasses.
But the clever occupant had also included ribbon from a multicolored prayer pole in our meditation garden — purple ribbon, and only purple. We laughed at what kind of bird might know how to fashion this perfect Lenten nest. We decided it was definitely a Lutheran bird.
Some people say, “Lent? Too depressing.” But they were raised on giving up. I smile and speak about adding things that twist the kaleidoscope around our busy routines and give them a center. Lent isn’t just 40 days to wander in our personal wildernesses but a time set apart, a time to “nest” as well.
It’s a season of focus: on giving alms, a reminder of who feathers our nests; on prayer, a time to rest with God; on fasting, to keep us intent upon the God who provides; and on repentance, because, well, repentance is simply good for the soul. This is a journey that has a destination.
I love Lent. It’s a simple time. It’s a season that calls us back to the place where we began and helps us journey to the place where we couldn’t go ourselves. It gives us a place to stay warm during the last cold days of winter. And at just the right time, when the buds are about to burst forth, it gives us a place of new life.
“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26).
Consider them, those birds of the air—for they know about Lent too.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers