I can’t believe Lent begins this week! It seems that only yesterday we were in the Advent/Christmas/Epiphany season, and yet this Wednesday we begin our march toward Easter with the imposition of ashes. Lent is a time for reflection:
reflection on the human condition…
reflection on all the ways we have taken the good world God made off track…
reflection on all that God has done to break through our hard hearts with his grace, mercy, and peace.
Lent is also a season for repentance. In the Hebrew language of the Old Testament the word for repent is t’shuva. It literally means ‘to return’. To repent is not just to recognize and intellectually assent to the idea that we have sinned–that we are broken, that we have taken God’s good world in all sorts of wrong directions; to repent is also to return.
Return to the God who made us…
Return to the path of life and love…
Return to our true selves–the people we were made to be.
That’s why Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. Ashes, throughout history, have symbolized the frailty of humanity [“…for dust you are and to dust you will return” Genesis 3v19] and repentance–our grief over all the ways we have screwed this up, and our desire to return to God and the people we were made to become.
Lent is also a season of preparation. Like soil prepared for seeds, we prepare our hearts to receive the hope of resurrection, new life here and now. As we move closer to Lent, may we be aware and alert; may we be good soil in which the seeds of hope can grow and blossom.
If you are interested in a couple of resources to help your Lenten journey, check these out:
Daily Scripture readings :
Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter, which is great because it is a collection of various writers like C.S. Lewis, C.K. Chesterton, St. Augustine and many more!
With 2-day shipping they can be here by Wednesday if you order soon!
grace and peace to you as we prepare for Lent.