The ritual associated with Ash Wednesday is simple and clear. It reminds us that we, like everything else on this earth, will die. Today we remind ourselves about the certain cycles of life and death – the beginning and the end. We also remind ourselves who we are and from whom we come – God.
Today is a sort of reality check. The prophet Joel calls us to look at who we are and how we are living and, when it seems we come up short, return to the Lord. Today we begin a journey inward to encounter and confront all that separates us from God and from one another by taking account of all that causes pain, damage, and separation in our lives.
The season of Lent that begins today, is a time to acknowledge that to move to a new way of life, we first must die to the old – to give up the things that get in the way of our knowing God and one another more deeply and completely. Lent is a time to remember our baptism and the call to know, love and serve God and one another that came with it. It can be a season of great change.
During Lent, we reconnect with who we are, with who we can be, with whom God made us to be. We are humans – made in God’s image and likeness – but unlike God, we are also made of dust – and into that dust we shall return. Now, then, is the time to make the most of it all!