Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
At chapel in the morning, I shall receive communion followed by the imposition of ashes, the marking of the cross, in ash mixed with oil, on my forehead, with words that remind me that From dust you came and to dust you shall return.
Ash Wednesday confronts us with our own mortality, and holds out the hope of resurrection life beyond death.
But Lent is not an individual exercise. Lent is a season in the Church calendar. Lent is a communal experience…
The college community of which I am part goes through its own, annual as it happens, cycle of death and resurrection. In the summer, some of my friends will die to the experience of being an ordinand, and rise to the experience of being a deacon; die to life in college, and rise to new life in a parish. Over the summer, others will die to the life they are currently living, elsewhere, and rise to the experience of being an ordinand, here. From year to year, there is overlap, there is continuity; but the community dies and rises again in a familiar-and-yet-not-the-same way.
Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it remains only one seed. It is next to useless. But if it is sown, it produces a harvest; a multiplied return on the original investment.
Lord, teach us how
to lay down ourselves,
our perceived adequacy
and our perceived inadequacy;
and let us instead be
found to be beyond in/adequacy