“Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.”
– Psalm 119:105
Every Friday, my husband Lucus sets up the array of cameras and stands, sound recorders and cords that make up the infrastructure of our recorded Sunday services. It seems like each camera works a little bit differently. One, for example, seems to lean quite heavily on one feature: the autofocus. When it works, no one is the wiser, but I have noticed that, at times, it decides that the sanctuary banner is the most important thing in the frame or some seemingly randomly selected point in the foreground. Somehow, something moves to fast or confuses its sensors and the “main action” becomes a blur. Because it gets to working on autopilot, it’s easy to miss out on what’s happening.
As we prepare ourselves for Holy Week and for Easter this Lent, we look at our lives and our faith and rededicate ourselves. We take the time to try to get ourselves back on the right path where we need it. Most years, we do this by taking up a new spiritual discipline like giving something up that we love or adding something new to find a unique spiritual challenge. I don’t know about you, but during this time of pandemic, it has felt like we’ve all been asked to give up an awful lot. Would it be spiritually fulfilling to give up yet another thing that we love? By the same token, we’re also overwhelmed so often, aren’t we? The stress and strain of getting through the day makes it hard to think about adding yet another thing to the list. How, then, can we honor Lent this year?
I think, like our blurry video camera, so often we have gotten caught up in autofocus in our own lives. The big things that continue to draw our attention have shifted us somewhat out of focus – and things have been going on for so long that it’s hard to even realize that we are out of focus. When we read Psalm 119, we find this verse: “your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” This verse doesn’t tell us that God illuminates the whole forest for us or that we can see and fully understand the world from sky to ground. No, through God’s guidance and love, through the pages of holy scripture, we find that God offers us a light on the ground just before our feet. God gives us a small patch that will not overwhelm our ability focus. Instead, God shows us where our next step should be and asks us to trust that the light will continue to shine.
This year, let us pay close attention to how we are spending our time and energy and attention. Do not feel pressure to make a grand gesture of self-deprivation or to add a spiritual discipline to your to-do list. Rather, take a few quiet moments and look at where your focus is. Can you sharpen your eye on something else sometimes – something that would feed your soul more? Can you pull back from diversions that leave you still feeling empty at the end? Can you find a moment to bask in the warmth of the light shining right at your feet and on into tomorrow?
May you find renewal, peace, and grace in your reflection this Lent. Amen.
Image credit: “Petra, Siq” by Arian Zwegers