Pathways through Lent

Do you know how to receive?

First Monday of Lent

Deuteronomy 8:11-18 Psalms 41, 44, 52 Hebrews 2:11-18 John 2:1-12

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In the late winter of my senior year in college, I had a very vivid dream. In it I was asked the question “do you know how to receive?”

I awoke with a start, bewildered, my eyes wide open, heart racing. Did I know how to receive? What did that mean? The dream haunted and distracted me throughout the day as I tried to rationalize it. I had a vivid imagination, an insatiable curiosity about the world, and was an avid reader; surely something I’d read had prompted it. But despite my efforts to find a source, I came up empty. The dream and the question had come from somewhere else.

Ten years have passed since then, and I often think back to that memorable morning. Older and a tiny bit wiser, I know that learning how to receive is a process. It requires discernment, silence, and stillness; it requires striving and intention. It is about saying yes to what will be. It requires living, learning how to have faith.

I still don’t know where the dream came from, but the word receive took on a deeper meaning for me that year. Each time I kneel at the altar to receive Communion, I am humbled by the fact that I am welcome again and again, that I am forgiven, that I am loved.

And walking toward the door to leave, some days unsure and uncertain, I need only turn around to find a God who nods His head and says to each one of us, “I believe in you. Now keep going.”

Audrey M. Wood

Photo © Mike Angell 2010
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