I am like a flag in the center of
I sense ahead the wind which is
coming, and must live
while the things of the world
still do not move:
the doors still close softly, and
the chimneys are full
the windows do not rattle yet,
and the dust still lies down.
I already know the storm, and I
am troubled as the sea.
I leap out, and fall back,
and throw myself out, and am
in the great storm.
—Rainer Maria Rilke,
translated by Robert Bly
Lent is the exception to the rest of the liturgical year, in which the emphasis is on the challenges of building and sustaining a radically inclusive community of the faithful. For the next 40 days, we will not be accompanied; we will walk alone into the wilderness to stand “like a flag in the center of open space.” There, like Jesus, we will confront our demons; we will name and expel the false sources of life that we have worshipped over and over again until we are stripped bare. And at the end of these five weeks we will be called to “leap out, and fall back,” to trust in “the wind which is coming,” the great storm that will usher us from death into life.
Michaela Bruzzese, a Sojourners contributing writer, lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Ashes to Ashes
Genesis 9:8-17; Psalm 25:1-10; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:9-15