Today is Ash Wednesday, a time when we mark the beginning of the season of Lent. Our liturgical calendar blocks out these forty days before Easter to parallel Christ’s time in the wilderness. Traditionally, Lent is a season of repentance, of starting over. A time of nurturing the parts of ourselves that are works in progress, of churning the soil and making space for our spiritual roots to grow deeper in faith. It’s a time of quieting our hearts to listen for God’s voice speaking to us once more and opening ourselves to follow God in a new (or perhaps familiar) direction. For some, this means trying out a new spiritual discipline like meditation, and for others, this could be a time of cultivating gratitude and connection with loved ones through more regular check-ins or a practice of writing letters.
On Ash Wednesday, we orient ourselves towards Christ’s journey to the cross by reflecting on our own mortality. This year, however, we don’t need a reminder that we are fragile nor of the preciousness of life. We face our finitude every time we don a mask to exit our homes, or internally debate the risk of hugging a friend outside our “bubble.” We are more aware than ever that we rely on God and on one another for support.
In past years, LAC has gathered for a simple meal and a service with the imposition of ashes. This year we will not gather for a service, though our denominational leaders have created a video
for those who would enjoy time to reflect with scripture and music. Instead, we invite you to reflect on what has become “ash” in your life in the wake of the pandemic. As we approach the one-year mark, let us make space to grieve for the cancelled plans, the lost jobs and the security of “normal,” the rites of passage from graduations to proms that felt different over Zoom, the time we hoped to spend with our families and friends, and of course, the deaths of loved ones within our community.