This coming Ash Wednesday I will be preaching a sermon entitled, Peaks and Pits. What is reflected in the title is that life and faith have both peak experiences and experiences that are the pits. Take this week in the liturgical life of Christians. On Sunday we celebrated what is known as Transfiguration of the Lord Sunday. Jesus ascended a high mountain with James and John where he was transfigured right before their very eyes. The gospel of Matthew says that "his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as the light." Certainly this was a peak experience for James and John.
A couple of days from now we will be worshipping together on what we call Ash Wednesday. Rather than faces shining like the sun, we will be placing the sign of the cross on your foreheads with ashes. This is the pits or as Ecclesiastes reminds us "All go to the same place; all come from dust and to dust they return." Peaks and pits; so our lives of faith are lived.
By now you have heard that our 10th annual Prayer Vigil will be held this coming Friday and Saturday. We are inviting you to walk the journey of Lent through prayer. I believe that the Psalms provide us with a road map for the journey of prayer as we traverse the peaks and pits of our lives.
One way to think about praying The Psalms is to think that we travel through them. One Psalm leads to the next; 6 travels to 7 and then to 8; 22 travels to 23. There is an ascending, then descending, then ascending quality that appears when you read The Psalms in a progression so to speak. We travel through the psalms and perhaps they travel through us; up and down then up again as we travel this path of life.
Vincent Van Gogh's picture of the peasant's shoes reminds me of the journey the psalmist in each of us will travel on our journey of faith; a journey well worth praying.