By Eloise Downing
Reflection for the Fifth Sunday in Lent
There is comfort in the familiar. Our daily routines keep us from having to “re-invent the wheel” for each of our mundane endeavors. Over the years, the relationships we’ve built with our families and friends pave the two-way street of love, understanding and trust by which we support one another on our journeys. Yet, if we entrap ourselves only in the familiar (the “we’ve-always-done-it-this-way” approach to life), we run the risk of being bored (and boring!) and cheating ourselves out of the wonder of discovery, the exciting potential for growth and spirited life.
I find the Scriptures call us from the comfort of the familiar to openness to the new. There are passages we’ve heard time and time again — so much so that we can recite them from memory. However, just when we hear a familiar proclamation, when it is easy to think, “Oh, I’ve heard this all before”, is perhaps just the time we’re invited to forsake the familiar and seek out the ever-renewing unfolding of the spirit-life.
Sometimes this openness to a renewed inspiration in Scripture is revealed in the simple turn of a phrase or in reading a different translation of the passage. Recently, I experienced this in the phrase from Ezekiel – “I will create a new heart in you and breathe into you a new spirit” — a passage I’ve heard, read and sung many times.
But for some reason, I found myself reflecting on a paraphrase: “I will create a new heart in me” — not in the sense that I am an ultimate creator — but rather in the sense that, because the new heart has already been bestowed on each one of us, we are responsible for how we continue the creation of the new heart, the enlivening spirit, in our midst.
So, my paraphrase of Ezekiel is my Lenten reflection, calling me to continue the creation of the new heart and spirit with which we’ve all been so richly blessed. May your Lenten inspirations be times of gratitude for all the gifts of heart and spirit in your life, whether they be familiar or new or some of both.