“Somewhere in the Middle”

A Lent reflection by Andrew Manning Chaplain to the Southern Region of the Third order of the Society of St Francis.

Invitation to a journey through Lent 2023.

I humbly offer this series of reflections for lent. May the Spirit of God accompany you through your journey of Lent 2023 and may these thoughts encourage you to embrace the way of St Francis and St Claire.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. ( 1 Cor 13:12 NLT)

We all have an idea in our head and in our heart of what we look like. When we look in the mirror we say – do I really look like that, is that how people see me or is it just the inversion the mirror effect that has me confused…

We all have an idea in our head and in our heart of what we sound like, and then we hear our voice in a recording and we say is that really what I sound like or is it just the digitization that changes my voice.
We all have an idea in our head and in our heart of what our actions are all about – and then we see in other people’s responses an unexpected reaction… and we say maybe their triggers caused them to misunderstand me.

We all have our own perception of who we are and how the world should see us and the we have the mirrors the feedback. Which is true? What we see, what others see, that area of confusion between my presentation of myself and their response to it?

And so life is lived somewhere in the middle between who I think I am and how others receive me.
My Lenten reflection this year is entitled “Somewhere in the Middle you’ll find me.”

It is inspired by my life, lived in the reality of the space between what I want life to be and what it is. Between my intention and my actions between my desires and my apparent reality. Between my dreams and my days. I take comfort from St Paul, who lived in this space too. (Romans 7: 15).

My prayer is that this series of reflections will empower you to embrace the God who is. The God who reflected himself through His Son and through the Cross.

The Cross of Jesus is a somewhere in the middle. Between Heaven and earth, between a Malefactor and a repentant sinner, between life and death, between God’s justice and mercy, between God’s wrath and compassion, between humankind’s frailty and dominance.

Somewhere in the Middle you’ll find a Saviour. In the middle of the complexity of your life. In the middle between the plans God has for you and the plans that you have for you.

As we journey between where you are, to where God is taking you, between what you understand and what you don’t, between what I am saying and what you think, I pray that somewhere in the middle you’ll find the love of God. May this lent be a time of deep reflection and growth as you surrender to God and are fashioned into a greater likeness of Christ your saviour.

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