Image Credit: Ash to Ash by Greg Williams on Flickr
Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent, the season of the church year preceding Easter. Whatever your practices or traditions may be, I pray they are life-giving and meaningful.
Far too often, we merely "give up biscuits" (as one pastor put it) during Lent. Does this really bring us closer to God? Evoke a deeper awareness of our finitude? Lead us to reflect on Jesus' ministry, death, and resurrection? Probably not.
While you may be well aware of what lies at the end of Lent - Jesus' Resurrection - I encourage you to not jump right to it and instead to delve into this season of Lent, whatever that may look like for you. Perhaps you could imagine yourself as a disciple of Jesus in the 1st century C.E., wondering if this man is truly God Incarnate.
What would it be like to hear Jesus' teachings for the first time?
To see a man going against the religious piety of his day in order to be present to those on the margins?
To wonder if this man really is the Son of God?
To hear Jesus foretell his death and resurrection and wonder what that means for the first time?
What would it be like if you did not know the end of the story?
Take some time to ponder these questions today and throughout this Lenten journey. Do not be afraid of imagining and immersing yourself in the world and journey that Jesus' disciples, the crowds, the individuals who were healed, or the religious authorities might have had.
Perhaps you could pick a Gospel to read through and imagine what it might have been like for different people in its pages. May the story of Jesus come alive for you this Lent. Amen.