This season of quiet reflection, introspection and contrition may be the best time to consider our misunderstandings and to seek repentance, receive forgiveness and start anew. And to hear again the words of Jesus: “You have heard that it was said, but I say to you…”
On the night of Ash Wednesday, somebody sitting at the bar yelled out, “Hey! You got something black on your face!” Without thinking, I yelled back, “Hey! It’s my skin!”
The Bible says that we have this treasure in earthen vessels, but moments of moral reckoning, such as the one we are enduring now, remind us just how fragile earthen vessels really are.
Ash Wednesday doesn’t stand alone. It’s a gateway to the season of Lent, which is in itself a way of understanding the whole of the gospel story.
The point of Pancake Tuesday is not to get the partying out of our system before Lent begins. Feast days remind us to live in gratitude. Celebration, reveling in the pleasures of life, helps us pay attention.
LaTonya McIver Penny wasn’t satisfied with surrendering chocolate or coffee or Facebook for Lent. Instead, the African-American pastor of a Baptist church in North Carolina decided to give up white supremacy this year.
We’ve ritualized death away from the young in this culture, in funeral homes and hospice facilities, but it has overtaken them with a vengeance in what were once safe spaces for learning.
When Martin Luther wrote, “Love God and sin boldly,” he was not in a fast food restaurant, but he could have been. Luther was inviting us to recognize what is important and what is not. There are times when you should order the salad, but sinning a little without worrying about it too much may, on occasion, be good for your soul.
Finding fresh ways to observe Lent, year in and year out, can be challenging. While Catholics, Episcopalians, Orthodox Christians and others can rely on tradition to guide them, some Christians and churches are left to their own devices. Fortunately for those…