Ash Wednesday is the official beginning of Lent. As a child I looked forward to Lent. There was something special about Lent I cannot put into words. Before Lent, I decided what I would “do” for Lent. I usually “gave up” candy and movies and couldn’t wait for the first piece of chocolate on Easter Sunday. As life went on I realized that Lent invites attentiveness to relationship with self, God and others. Lent involves choosing life. What is Lent?
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday preparing us to celebrate Easter. The word Lent, derived from Anglo-Saxon, literally means “spring”. During springtime we often think of opening windows to let in fresh air. We prepare soil for planting. Our attention turns to ways we procrastinated on projects that would make homes or various abodes neat, clean and more enjoyable.
In a similar way, Lent invites us to focus on “inner” renewal and conversion, slowing down within, allowing new life to spring forth. During Lent we are more in tune with God, inner wisdom, Creative Spirit and we co-operate in allowing new life to spring forth within. Our Lenten journey might involve checking things out with someone, taking risks to hear another’s truth, being gentle with ourselves and others. Lent is a time to see goodness in ourselves and others and to make choices that are life-giving and healthy. Rather than “giving up something”, openness to new life during Lent may involve “embracing something”: generosity, gratitude, gentleness, forgiveness, reconciliation, etc. Lent is about the “stuff” of our everyday lives.
In the Gospel of Luke (4:1-13) from the Christian scriptures Jesus’ temptation was to give up his inner goodness, his sense of inclusivity, equality, and right relationship. Jesus’ temptation was to give into fear rather than trusting that the God who made him would always be there throughout the journey of life. Jesus’ response to temptation was to choose life in every aspect of life which brought him more in tune with others and the Creating Spirit within.
During Lent our invitation is to embrace trust rather than fear, new life rather than holding fast to old ways that do not produce new life. Our invitation is to embrace the Creating Spirit within who loves us and promises to be with us always.
Our invitation is to embrace new life.
Blessings and peace