The Melody of Lent
fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness
Where is death's sting?
Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
There is a shift from yesterday to today. Yesterday, we heard the pain from Henry Francis Lytedwelling in the wounds and wants of life, but perhaps in hearing Lyte’s story you sensed strength and the sacred stirring. So often, we turn life into either/or choices. We are either happy or sad. We are either living the dream or the sky is falling. Yet, our lives are complex enough to hold two competing, even contradictory, emotions. We are not taught how to dwell or abide in such tension. Rather, we let one emotion rule and run over all other emotions. We decide that everything is coming up roses or going to you-know-where in a handbasket. Yet, to sit with the messiness of our lives might be the doorway we need.
I invite you today into a time of meditation. Sit in a chair with your feet touching the floor, especially focus that the heels are firmly touching the ground. While your back is straight, your shoulders relax, sink and settle into your chair. Notice your breathing. Christine Runyan says this, “There’s various techniques you can do with the breath, but if you’re going do one thing, a long exhale, because that’s part of our sympathetic nervous system, that dorsal part of our sympathetic nervous system that activates our calming — so, a long exhale. The inhale can have an activation part; a long exhale can — that alone can be quite calming, although there are some other breath techniques that one can use as well.”
For example, you can breathe in to the count of four and exhale to the count of six (you want your exhale to be longer than your inhale). Or you can inhale to the count of five, hold gently to the count of six, and exhale to the count of seven or eight.
Just breathe today. Remember that one name for God, Yahweh, sounds like breath. Yahweh, the name God gives Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3), is made up of the sound of inhaling (Yah) and exhaling (weh). You may even want to try that breathing in with the word, “Yah” and exhale with the word, “Weh”. Image God dwelling and abiding right beside you in this holy moment.
Prayer: Breathe on me, breath of God, filling me with life anew. Amen.