Of Lent and Bagpipes: Lean Over Loud in the Spiritual Life


Lent is that time in the Church calendar historically set aside for an “under the hood” diagnostic of those things most needful for the optimization of our lives in Christ. It is a rich time, not for mere maintenance, but for the introspective dialogue with one’s own inner voice that, in concert with God’s voice, guides us to “practice resurrection” as Wendell Berry so eloquently advises.

Allow me to clarify with a story.

I’ll never forget the day I first told my bewildered parents that I wanted to learn how to play the bagpipes. I was seven. I had just watched a televised Edinburgh Military Tattoo replete with color-laden, swinging kilts, swashbuckling pipers, and swishing notes all clammering for attention under the bright lights of a night-lit Edinburgh Castle. From the first humming drone and pinched gracenote to the final cannon blast salute I was forever hooked. A seed was…

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