A Friday evening in Lent.
The afternoon of this sunny March day once past, cold settles back into the air.
The walk down sidewalks to an old downtown Catholic church is making me regret not bringing my cap.
Up steep steps and through the main front doors, I feel suddenly the intimacy of air heated by a furnace, thickened by distant incense.
I am wary, I admit. I have made a decision to attend the Stations of the Cross this Friday evening in Lent. I am prepared to find myself distracted by the logistics of a march around a church with twenty other congregants. However, I am ready to enter into this bit of theatre once again.
I am hoping the formulas and movements and genuflections wear me down as they have in the past. I am waiting for that familiar moment when I am indeed watching Jesus and not myself, when I am again wondering what it must feel like to walk to a death that with each step feels more clearly inescapable.
I am hoping that something in my heart is startled afresh with the progress of this dark evening of imagining and intoning, of following someone to his end.
A moment can come then when my heart opens a bit, breathes a bit, feels able to let itself be in whatever state my current life has left it.
My breathing can slow as I continue with these twenty others and follow a presider in ceremonial white alb moving down the shadows of the side aisles of the church. With earnest concentration, he lets his voice send the words of the prayers into his own heart and ours.
It seems amazing then that all this unfolds for just us twenty or so on just this evening.
It seems amazing that lives make a little more sense when they enter this simple drama once again.
In a dark church in the city.
On a Friday in Lent.
Photos uploaded on Flickr by Nathanael Archer