THE PASTOR’S PEN
The Church season of Lent officially begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6th, when we will have a Service of Impositions of the Ashes.
People often don’t look forward to Lent. Childhood memories of giving up candy or sitting through weekly Stations of the Cross come immediately to mind. Words like “sacrifice,” “discipline,” and “self-denial” are often used in ways that suggest that Lent is something to be endured rather than a time of grace and spiritual growth. It is for me my favorite season of the church year. While Advent is significant and special, its spiritual significance often gets lost in the hustle and bustle of frenzied preparations for Christmas.
Lent, however, is a time for contemplation and expectation. The rituals — marking foreheads with ashes, making sacrifices, and reflecting on the suffering and death of Jesus — are openings for deeper connection with God.
Have you ever thought of Lent as a yearly second chance? Each year the Church gives us six weeks to take a long, loving look at our lives to see if our values and priorities are in line with God’s desires for us. Since most of us find that we’ve wandered from God’s path, Lent becomes that second chance, or do-over, to “return to God with our whole heart.”
In the midst of our fast paced lives, Lent offers us the opportunity to tear away all that would blind us, or numb us to that reality. For some that will come through fasting from mindless consumption of whatever distracts us; for others it will come from radical service to the neighbor; but what is most important about Lent is that we make time and space for an awareness that God is with us and loves us even right here and now.
Daily prayer and meditation, weekly worship as we focus on Jesus’ journey and its meaning for our faith, Holy Week observances and the celebration of the Resurrection. How will you make time to nourish your spiritual self?
As we journey through this annual second chance, remember that each step brings us closer to God.
Grace and Peace,