This week we have entered into the season of Lent. For those within the Christian Church, this is a time of reflection and preparation. It is a time when we contemplate our spiritual state and consider how this is reflected by our actions. When I looked at the traditional meaning of Lent, I found that there is a three-pronged approach to the practices many undertake during this time. These are actually centred on the idea of justice. First, prayer represents justice towards God. Fasting (self-denial) represents justice towards the self. Finally, almsgiving represents the justice we show to our neighbours. To me, this does seem to be a more holistic approach than the gloomy, give things up idea I often associate with this time. It speaks to our spirit, body and community. It is interesting to note, that even in the secular world, people are starting to consider this time as well – a time to meditate, think about environmental stewardship and personal health. Designating a time to consciously reflect.
This is a time of personal reflection. The music is contemplative, some might say melancholy and sad. It is a quiet time. And as such, it can be lonely. So I picked this hymn as a reminder that while, in some ways, we must walk through this deeply personal time alone, we are not alone. There is something beyond us that carries, feeds and fills us. For some of us that is God. For some it is the love of our families and friends. For some it lies in the natural word. For some it is something we don’t really understand or know how to define. But for some it feels like there is no source of this deep strength, this river of love. So while this hymn reminds me of the care I receive, perhaps it can also give me guidance in providing this blessing to those who can’t find it. Maybe Lent isn’t so much about thinking of things to give up. Maybe it’s about thinking of what we can give.
Go, my children, with my blessing, never alone.
Waking, sleeping, I am with you, you are my own.
In my love’s baptismal river, I have made you mine forever.
Go, my children, with my blessing; you are my own.
Go, my children, fed and nourished, closer to me.
Grow in love and love by serving, joyful and free.
Here my Spirit’s power filled you, here his tender comfort stilled you.
Go, my children, fed and nourished, joyful and free.