The new issue of Episcorific is out. It's called Journey to Jerusalem. It's a series of meditations on Christ's journey into Jerusalem. It's a good one. Check it out at episcorific.org.
This is the note from the editors that I wrote:
Walking in the street after it has snowed I feel miles away from everyone else. The snow makes that lonely creaking, crunching sound and the cold air seems to stretch out in front of me. It’s just me and my thoughts. Well, me and my thoughts and my gloves and scarf and hat and coat and all the other stuff I now have to carry around with me.
This summer I moved from Texas to New York, and before I had gotten used to riding the subway it was winter. Winter, it turns out, requires preparation. You have to buy things: a coat and scarves and hats and gloves. You have to learn to layer: t-shirt, collared shirt, sweater. You have to master the art of tying your scarf so your neck doesn’t freeze. You have to watch where you step after it snows so your that you don’t slip on the streets, which quickly become muddy, concrete slip-and-slides.
And, if you’re like me, you have to get used to being by yourself. During the first significant snow a friend invited me out to play pool. I don’t have any boots, so I set out in my tennis shoes and wool socks into the blowing snow. I got about twenty yards with the snow soaking into my shoes and soaking my jeans and decided to head home. Maybe I can’t handle the winter, or maybe it’s New York, which can be lonely place, but I’ve spent a lot of time this winter alone with my thoughts.
During this wintry season of Lent we are forced into ourselves. We turn down the lights, stop saying Alleluia so much, make ourselves a little less comfortable by giving up chocolate or television, try to bring some spiritual discipline into our lives. All of this is a method of turning down the noise, getting away from the crowds, so we can journey deeper into our hearts and the heart of God. During Jesus’ ministry,as he traveled toward Jerusalem and eventually Golgatha, he would take the time to be alone, to wrestle with the devil or pray to the Father. The reflections and the art in this issue of Episcorific were born out of each author and artist’s own solitary struggle with Jesus’ journey as captured in the Book of Luke.
Whether you live in Texas or somewhere with a long cold winter, Lent is your muffled, snow covered street. Just you and God. Still, walking out in the street your footprints are not the only ones. There are others who have walked there before you, patting down the snow, providing a path, and footprints traveling beside you on your journey.