Lent has begun. Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21. These are the appointed readings for today, Ash Wednesday.
Lent begins here. One foot firmly planted in the present and one moving into the promise of tomorrow. We remember every part of God’s wondrous world and everyone who has blessed us with love and hope. We remember the ache of the ongoing pandemic, war, the injustice, the pain and struggle. Life has been challenging beyond our wildest imaginations. We’ve been living wilderness times, so the gospel for Lent 1 [Jesus tempted in the wilderness] is real.
Lent begins with humility, prayerfulness, stillness and an invitation to spiritual growth. I love this season. I recognize this liturgical season as an opportunity to know the joys of belonging, the potential for a closer walk of God and more time with Jesus.
There are so many ways to approach this season to nurture our way to the cross and then Easter.
Worship! Both churches are open during the Lenten season. Please join us each Sunday as every effort is being made to keep everyone safe and blessed through the gift of faithful community.
Prayer! One Lenten prayer that I prayed today, reminds me to bring me failures in caring, helping and loving to God. The prayer goes on, “we bring the injustice in society of which we are a part, to the transforming power of your grace. Grant us the courage to accept the healing you offer and to turn again toward the sunrise of your reign that we may walk with you in the promise of peace you have willed for all the children of the earth, and have made known to us in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Listening! As Sister Joan Chittister asserts, “Justice, mercy, and simplicity of life are the only things that make for a genuine Lent. This is truly a contemplative time of prayer that engages us with God, with the heart and ministry of Jesus, and the call to seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly.”
Practice! Lent can be a deep and spirited time. Lent can be a time of doing something positive to reveal more of the goodness within us. Perhaps, by opening ourselves to justice, mercy and simplicity, we may feel called to action [helping a neighbour, hiring a young person to help around your property, donating to worthy causes]; called to service; called to giving up something that is simply not serving our spirits, bodies or our intellect. This could well be the season to get creative with your faith by rooting yourself in stillness, welcoming the presence of God and God’s guiding grace every day.
May we find for ourselves a daily time of quiet prayer this Lenten season to give ourselves the gift of being turned toward Love, to hear the voice of God call us beloved. This gift will help us honour the spark of Love divine within and around us.
May this great Love nurture compassion and peace among us and be an opening to amazing graces yet to be shared.
Finally, in an essay entitled “About Practice, Clear Seeing, and Keeping the Faith,” Sylvia Boorstein speaks about the slow process of spiritual growth by describing a cartoon: “The father of a desert clan traveling astride their camels is chiding his children saying, ‘Stop asking "are we there yet?” We’re nomads for crying out loud.’
In her thoughts on Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season Sister Joyce Rupp affirms, “Growth takes places while on the journey, not at the goal post.” Slow and steady. We grow and change with God as our best companion every day.