Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ash Wednesday

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.  Today we begin a time of introspection - like holding up a mirror to ourselves to see what we look like - not in our bodies but in our souls.  We take the time and spend the energy we need to see what needs improvement in our life as disciples. It is a time that calls for utter honesty. As the fourth step in the 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous  describes it: to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Once we have done that, we can begin the process of transformation. This is ultimately what happens to Jesus at Easter. While we marvel at the "rising from the dead" we can miss the more important dimension - that Jesus was changed, transformed, transfigured. He was different but the same. 
That is why Lent is a time to prepare us to celebrate Easter: so that we begin the process of transformation in the small, incremental ways we can handle in this our earthly existence. The total transformation we see in the Risen Lord will have to wait until our earthly journey is complete. But in the meantime, we can find our selves being healed, mended, changed by God's grace - if we simply admit to ourselves and to others what about us needs to change.
This Lent we are once more being called to follow Christ. But before we can follow Christ into glory, we need to follow him to Calvary - and there allow God to strip away from us any thing that can separate us from the life and love that God so freely gives. 

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