The Season of Lent has begun: our annual forty-day journey toward Easter. We spend those days praying that God will remake us from the inside out. We gather at the start of that journey – on Ash Wednesday – marking our foreheads with a smudge of ash to remind ourselves that we are nothing more than creatures of the earth who will someday die and return to the earth. More than that, we consider how we might better live the lives we have been given, while we still have time.
Frederick Buechner, one of my favorite authors and theologians, writes this about Lent in his book, Beyond Words:
“In many cultures, there is an ancient custom of giving a tenth of each year’s income to some holy use. For Christians, to observe the forty days of Lent is to do the same thing with roughly a tenth of each year’s days. After being baptized by John in the river Jordan, Jesus went off alone into the wilderness, where he spent forty days asking himself the question what it meant to be Jesus. During Lent, Christians are supposed to ask one way or another what it means to be themselves.
“If you had to bet everything you have on whether there is a God or whether there isn’t, which side would get your money and why? When you look at your face in the mirror, what do you see in it that you most like, and what do you see in it that you most deplore? If you had only one last message to leave to the handful of people who are most important to you, what would it be in twenty-five words or less? Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you would most like to undo? Which is the one that makes you happiest to remember? Is there any person in the world or any cause that, if circumstances called for it, you would be willing to die for? If this were the last day of your life, what would you do with it?
“To hear yourself try to answer questions like these is to begin to hear something not only of who you are but of both what you are becoming and what you are failing to become. It can be a pretty depressing business all in all, but if sackcloth and ashes are at the start of it, something like Easter may be at the end.”
Consider joining us for this year’s journey to Easter! The following pages will detail some of the paths you might want to try!
Blessings! Pastor Becki