7 Mar 2015

The Province of Joy - Lenten Reflections 2015 - Ripples in the Rock Pool

Lent – forever and in this present moment
Noirin Lynch 

Ripples in the rock pools, ripples in the sea
Ripples in the sand dunes rolling into Connemara
(Shaun Davey)

The Irish coastline fascinates me, especially the rocky beaches that I love to clamber over and around.  Looking at the Atlantic is an experience of enormity, power and vastness. Gazing into a tiny rock pool is to know that all the beauty and hope of life is contained in the smallest drop, in this present moment.

In the Lenten Gospels Jesus steps away from the noise and excitement of the Jordan and into a barren place, a place he can be still and pray. All the old temptations follow him, all the dramas, all the false promises … if God really loved you, you’d never go hungry. If God really cared, there would be no suffering. You’ve trusted the wrong person in trusting God …

In this place-apart, the noises were louder and more insistent … and yet precisely because of this Jesus sees clearly and responds to them. No I won’t be bought be today’s bread, some things are more important. No, it doesn’t need to be easy to be good – some things are more important than safety. Yes, I place my trust in God and I don’t need any more than that.

Some days I feel like I am being run by the noises in my head, the noises of the city, of work, of expectations. I find myself on a treadmill of busy-ness, stressed and smiling. Then I know I need to go to my desert place. I need the rocky places and the sea.

So I step out of the busy-ness and into the calm. At first when I arrive I am restless. I wander and clamber and take photos and remember a phone call I meant to make. No signal. Hmmm, maybe that’s a sign. I try and slow down again, but my heads still busy. I clamber some more, find a perch or a hollow and sit for a moment. The voices are louder now that I’m still .., or maybe there’s just no other noise distracting me. ‘you’ve loads to do, go home’. ‘it’s bound to rain, go find a hat’, ‘maybe there’s a signal here for that phone call’. …
…. I look out at the sea.  The mighty Atlantic and her waves.  I breathe in the salt air and there is nothing to do but breathe in and out with the beautiful pounding waves as the prance and dance around the mighty stones. ‘God, but you’re great really. Really great. It’s all so perfect. There is nothing to do but be here with you and breathe’.

And then I realise that the noises that run me are silent. Like the wind took them away – only it didn’t. I just let myself be present in the present and all the future stuff wasn’t important any more. Not for this moment at least.

Green, blue, yellow and red-
God is down in the swamps and marshes
Sensational as April and almost incredible
the flowering of our catharsis.
A humble scene in a backward place
Where no one important ever looked
The raving flowers looked up in the face
Of the One and the Endless, the Mind that has baulked
The profoundest of mortals. A primrose, a violet,
A violent wild iris- but mostly anonymous performers
Yet an important occasion as the Muse at her toilet
Prepared to inform the local farmers
That beautiful, beautiful, beautiful God
Was breathing His love by a cut-away bog.
Patrick Kavanagh  (from Selected Poems, Penguin books, 1996.)

For me, Lent has long not been about what type of sweets I give up. Lent has been the insistent heartbeat of hope … remember you are dust, and into dust you shall return … remember who you really are … remember all this busy-ness is just noise … remember …. renew … repent … release …

Lent for me is ‘Beautiful, beautiful beautiful God, … breathing his love into this over-diary-ed fog’. (with apologies to Kavanagh!).  It is my moment of redemption when I remember that I want to be more than my diary or my plans. It is my space for letting go and recognising how beautifully I am held in the Fathers hand, how perfect this life really is and can be. Lent often begins at the sea and in a rock pool – and it is always in the present moment, with the ever present God - ‘I Am’.




Truly dust we are, and to dust we shall return;
and truly yours we are, and to you we shall return.
Help this to be a time of turning round and beginning again.


A Time of Turning Round  -  written by Jan Sutch Pickard, in Traveling to Easter with Jesus as our Guide, Patmos Abbey—The Order of Saint Columba.http://www.patmosabbey.org/ http://re-worship.blogspot.ie/2012/02/lent-prayer-time-for-turning-round.html

1 comment:

  1. Thanks and blessings for such a beautiful reflection, Noirin.

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