Mardi Gras, the night before, is more popular. With its colors and sounds and revelry in spite of the night.
As followers of Jesus, celebrations are a way of saying thanks. Standing up to life’s dreariness or despair can be a prophetic witness. But important too are times of intentional reflection.
Life happens in seasons. Ash Wednesday is the opening of one such season, Lent, that asks us to slow down that we might look more carefully and see more deeply.
A friend of mine always says, “For every resurrection, there must first come some death. And following every death, surely a resurrection. We hope for the latter and often forget the former.
Dying is a part of life. Something must die in order something new to be born. We may not know why. We may not like it. But winter proceeds spring. One generation finishes it course so that another may begin. We must go through times in which something in us must die in order for something new to be born.
Lent helps us do that. We give up something — not for the act itself, but for the sake of giving God space to move. Or to begin something new. Spending 40 days “fasting and reflecting” — in some strange discipline — can bring a lot of new perspective, even some unexpected wiggle room and new beginnings.
Yes, one can reduce the whole practice to giving up chocolate or ice cream for little good reason. Or with a little imagination, one could say, might I try something — even something small — that signifies my asking God to help me see what things in my life actually get in my or others’ or even God’s way?
Maybe you’ve never tried anything different for Lent? It doesn’t hardly exist in certain Christian traditions. And even in our branch of Protestantism, its practices are varied. But, this year, not for anyone else, but yourself, and maybe God, why not try something different?
….Even if it is just joining us for Ash Wednesday, at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary…