As human beings our lives are a blend of joy and sadness; celebration and grief. These experiences and emotions are simply part of what it means to be a human creature, created by God the Creator of all. This week we have the chance to experience these aspects of our humanity in the life of the Church on Tuesday and Wednesday. Shrove Tuesday followed by Ash Wednesday. A party and then prayer. Feasting and glee, followed by quiet and penitence. All invitations for who we are; how we grow; signs of how far God’s grace extends to us, His beloved creatures.
Tuesday is Shrove Tuesday, the celebration designed to remind us of sweetness and joy. We feast on pancakes, sweetened with fruit and syrup. Playfulness and music; an event for all ages, so please bring friends and come at 6 pm to share in the fun. OR make pancakes at home and talk about the “sweet feast before Lent” with your family.
Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. A solemn day in which we are invited to pray; to be together in prayer; to have our foreheads marked with ashes as a reminder of our mortality, our humanity. Ash Wednesday is not about shame, but about humility. In this world of constant activity, striving for more and more things, competition and relentless pursuit of money and prestige; I find Ash Wednesday to be a relief, a refuge; a time to exhale in prayer and gratitude. “Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.” Created by God from the dust; we are enough. We are “marked as Christ’s own forever” and we are loved. As creatures, we will die, yes; but we know that we also are promised life eternal with God, through Christ.
Why Lent? Because we are human; because we are beloved children of God. The invitation of Lent is to bring our whole selves to God’s table. The joyful and happy parts; the grieving and lonely parts; all of it. Together we can pray and learn, eat and fast, weep and rejoice. I look forward to sharing it all with you.
February 8, 2018 reflection