Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.  I love this day.  It's like New Years, only a million times better.  I am a maker of resolutions, for sure, but Ash Wednesday signals a different kind of fresh start.  Instead of making resolutions, we make sacrifices.  Whereas New Years is all about "I," Lent is all about "Thou."  That speaks to me somehow.

There is something in we humans that longs to be tested and stretched. There is a longing inside of me to know the breadth of my willingness; power is borne in letting go of control.  In as much as I tend toward rebellion, I am attracted by submission, too.  There is an easing of my spirit in knowing  -- in deeply knowing --  that I do not have the burden of authority.  For the forty days of Lent I can surrender that grave office, that responsibility, that weight to God.  It always belongs to God, of course, but slowly over the 320-something days between Easter and the next Lent, I begin to pull it back.  The insidious and corrosive belief that it is somehow all up to me starts sneaking in, like wisps of smoke creeping in under the door.  The illusion of control is a silent and seemingly innocuous imposter that creeps ever nearer, unnoticed and unchecked.

Lent is the opportunity to surrender, but more, to abdicate.  The throne is not mine.  I am but an imposter here -- a poseur -- and the weight of the crown is far too great. 

And there is more.  Through this Lenten sacrifice, through the righting and restoration, there is a breach in our amour and an opening for the miraculous.  On Sunday, Father Jonathan beseeched us to remember that miracles are still possible and to ask and pray for such a miracle.  "Do not give up," he said, "God is not done with us."

I had briefly forgotten this.  Lent is, surely, about the way of the cross, and walking that way in willingness, barefooted and naked.  But Lent is also an opportunity for conversion in its deepest sense, for metamorphism and for miracles.

What are we waiting for?

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