Erin Dunigan uses induced meandering to water her geraniums in Baja California. Her flowers are watered only by the rain. The key to this method of rainwater harvesting is to slow down the rainwater runoff so it takes a more circuitous route and becomes a resource instead of a nuisance. As the meandering water makes its way down the slope, it sinks in, watering the plants and also refilling the groundwater tables in the earth. The goal of slowing down the water is to give it time to sink in and be absorbed by the earth instead of gushing off the property. (To read Erin’s entire essay on induced meandering see http://www.onbeing.org/blog/the-induced-meandering-of-the-lenten-season/6169?utm_source=On+Being+Newsletter&utm_campaign=25e7ac0330-20140308_Sherwin_Nuland_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1c66543c2f-25e7ac0330-65870589.)
Erin uses induced meandering as an image for the Lenten season. She values Lent as a time for “self-examination, reflection, and preparation.” She describes Lent as “a time of slowing down, intentionally, so that life is given a chance to sink in, not just run off in so many directions.” She offers two simple steps to practicing induced meandering during Lent: observation and action.
Observation involves time spent in contemplation, prayer, or meditation. Erin suggests two twenty-minute periods, one in the morning and the other in the evening, to spend time not only clearing our minds and thoughts, but also examining our actions.
The second step is action. What changes do I need to make? What am I being called to do? What am I being called not to do?
I invite you to meander through Lent. You might want to reflect on Matthew’s temptation passage from Sunday. It’s one place to start. Consider your hunger. Ask yourself, what do I yearn for? Is there an emptiness inside of me that needs to be filled? Consider your trust in God. How do I trust God? Can I let go of my desire to be in control? Consider your worship and service to God. How do I spend time with God during the week? How do my priorities reflect my faith?
During Lent, I invite all of us to slow down. Let’s intentionally spend time pondering our relationship with God. Let’s live with the questions. Let’s listen to what the Spirit is saying to us.
The tempter came to him and said, “Since you are God’s Son, command these stones to become bread.”
Jesus replied, “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread, but by every word spoken by God.” – Matthew 4:3-4