Well here we are, its a cold, snowy day in the Dallas area. I’m hoping and praying all of you are safe and warm. I know many have experienced rolling blackouts that are frustrating, leaving many cold and feeling disconnected. Hopefully the system will be brought back online and made able to supply the needs of all of us.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the day those who call themselves Christians, mark the beginning of the Lenten season. Lent is a time of reflection by those who follow Jesus, a time to reflect on his life, sacrifice, death and resurrection. Lent reminds us of the finitude of our existence. We come face to face with the reality that we are mortal, and as mortal beings or existence on this earth is finite.
I’ve been contemplating this idea of mortality and what it means. Those who have lost loved ones know the intense grief that comes with such a loss. It can be overwhelming and debilitating. Its certainly true, such a loss is difficult to bear. We miss our loved one’s presence, and know that our connection to them is no longer a part of this life. That’s difficult to come to grips with. I believe, however, part of our grief is based on our own mortality as well. We have to face the fact our own existence will also end in this world.
Lent gives us a time to reflect on this issue of mortality and to gain some true insight into just what Jesus has done for us. Jesus was mortal, died a mortal death on the cross. What Jesus did for us is to stare down the spectre of death. Death does not have the final say in our true existence, we belong to God!
Many traditions follow a practice of self denial during the season of Lent. This is a way to get in touch with the sacrifice Jesus made for all of us. Some refrain from decadent foods. Some refrain from certain activities. Some refrain from luxuries. All of this is meant to make some real sacrifice in our lives. Myself, I want to refrain from my judgementalism, from my hard heartedness, from my indfference to the plight of so many. I want what I give up to have a positive impact on my life, and on the lives of others. I want what I give up to be something I struggle with, so that it impacts me deeply. Hopefully the impact will also lead me to be more loving, more giving, more accepting, more inclusive in my life.
The rolling blackouts may serve to remind us of the temporary nature of this life we live. Nothing is permanent, or dependable, only our life with God. In a way, this is a great start to Lent, the blackouts will serve a starting point of our suffering, of putting on the darkness and coldness of death. What we know is, as followers of Jesus, that death will never have the final word. The final word will always be love, and light, and Life!
We aren’t able to meet in person to receive the traditional ashes on our foreheads. I urge you to look in the mirror, on your forehead make the sign of the cross and repeat to yourself, “From dust you came, and to dust you shall return. You are a beloved child of God, and God will bring you home one day.”
May your Ash Wednesday begin a journey through Lent, that brings meaning and focus to your life. You are loved by me and so many others.
Blessings and Peace,