Saturday, 11 March 2017

Ash Wednesday

I am ten days late with this, but wanted still to share the images that struck me on Ash Wednesday this year, at the beginning of our Lenten journey.

We are using the ABM (Anglican Board of Mission) resource, Into the Desert, for our daily Lenten readings. It's a wonderful set of reflections, written by our friend Celia, and arises from her experience of desert dwelling (both geographically and spiritually). But it's made me wonder also about Lent in the city - and how to pay attention to that which comes through the cracks and fissures of our tidy suburban setting.

On Ash Wednesday, I set out from home seeking to attend not primarily to what strikes me as beautiful in our neighbourhood, but simply to what is there. To let the whole of it in.

Before I'd left our unit complex, I came across this little scene which seemed to confirm my intent - a neighbourhood cat searching through the rubbish. Busted!!

There's a strip of open space - a 'waste land', I'm tempted to call it - behind the houses across the road from us. I took photos of the rubbish bins by the garages, and the satellite dishes on the roofs, and these too.

I don't feel I have anything very wise to say about this. When you pay attention to anything, there's beauty to be seen. But - it's undeniable that on the 'back' side, so to speak, of these well manicured suburban streets and homes, there's a degree of ugliness and unkemptness. And I wonder about a form of life that produces this as a seemingly necessary by-product, and what it says about the state of our common soul.

I wonder about keeping a holy Lent here, about being in and with this landscape and inviting it to teach me.

'Into the 'burbs', we might call it!