"Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing." Joel 2.12-13
As I write this, I've just finished with my first Ash Wednesday service. I have another one tonight at 6:30pm before my Session meeting. Seven faithful folks arrived at the church, almost at the exact time, to worship at the noon hour. The service was one filled with scripture, prayer, and silence. Near the end, I marked their faces with the sign of the cross in ashes. While I've attended many Ash Wednesday services, leading one on my own held great meaning for me. I was struck, maybe for the first time, by the power of the beginning of the Lenten season and the significance of marking oneself with the sign of the cross. We are indeed embarking on a journey with Christ towards Jerusalem, yet once again. We, in all of our sinfulness, have the privilage of walking with Christ this Lenten season. It is a time for penitence and self-examination. We prepare ourselves, over these next forty days, for the celebration of Christ's death & resurrection.
There is often conversation about giving up something for Lent. We are called in scripture to fast during this season. For me, I am choosing to incorporate more intentional time for reading scripture & writing. I feel that life often gets filled with so much distraction & this is certainly the case for me. And, as a new minister, I'm always running from one thing to the next. So, during this season of Lent, I am committing to do better & make sure I take the time to be in conversation with God. Holy conversation.
Friends, Lent is indeed upon us this day. May it be a season filled with self-examination, penitence, and humble learning as we journey with Christ towards Jerusalem once again. Thanks be to God.