"Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, & with mourning; rend your hearts & not your clothing. Return to the Lord your God..."
- Joel 2.12
Today is Ash Wednesday. The day when we stop, when we are marked with the sign of ashes upon our foreheads, & the day we begin our annual pilgrimage with Christ towards Jerusalem. For the next 40 days & 40 nights (plus Sundays), we will take the time for self-examination & reflection. It is a wonderful time to delve deeply within ourselves & into God's Word.
Many folks will commit to giving something up for Lent - like chocolate, alcohol, social networking, meat, etc. While I think these are wonderful commitments, I am of the camp that believes in adding a spiritual practice which will strengthen & deepen my relationship with myself & with God. This year, I am committing to writing daily on this blog - whether it is a reflection on scripture, a photo of something that catches my eye, or my reflections on what is going on the world around me. I will also be posting my sermons for the next 5 Sundays in Lent, plus my homilies for Maundy Thursday & Good Friday. I want to commit myself to more time for reflection & this way, there are people to keep me accountable.
This is my second Ash Wednesday as pastor of my church. Six lovely ladies of my church came to our noon service today. I love these moments - prayers, reading the scriptures for today, time of silence for reflection, & saying to them as I place the mark on their foreheads - "from dust you were created & to dust you shall return." And, I have the honor of doing it again this evening after our midweek fellowship dinner. Despite the stress & the frustration that comes with ministry, it is these moments that remind me of why I am a pastor. Thanks be to God.