This Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent as many people will head to church to celebrate Ash Wednesday. I know that it sounds weird to say celebrate when speaking of Ash Wednesday. Isn’t it supposed to be a quiet time of reflecting, giving something up, and focusing on the sin in our lives? Why would we celebrate this?
I do believe that the 40 days of Lent, without Sundays of course, is a time for reflection. It is a time to slow down and take account of our relationship with Jesus. I think it’s good for us to ask ourselves whether or not our life would bring glory to God, to ask whether we are slowing down to see God at work in our lives. Are we making room for Him? At the same time, I do believe that Lent can be a freeing time, a time of letting go. I’m reminded each Lent that regardless of what I do, I’m never going to be good enough for God’s grace or forgiveness. I’m never going to “get this life right!” I’m reminded that despite all my trying and failing, God is bigger than me. God could see that this failure was going to continue, and He stepped in. I’m reminded that He overcomes this world, and my sin, so that I can be with Him.
This year Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day fall on the same date – a very odd pairing; a day of solemn repentance and honest reckoning of our brokenness, and a light-hearted celebration of love. Do we abstain, or do we indulge?
As our Presiding Bishop, Elizabeth Eaton said in her most recent article of “Living Lutheran,” “…Ash Wednesday is a valentine from God, one that invites us to enter deep into the mystery of true love, honest examination of our lives and the possibility of real repentance. The Ash Wednesday valentine starts us on the journey to the cross, to the passionate love of God…and after the cross, the resurrection!”
Join us this Wednesday at either 11:00 AM or 7:00 PM as we celebrate God’s valentine to us: the beginning of the Holy season of Lent