ASH WEDNESDAY - Welcome to Lent
On Ash Wednesday we hear a call to reorder our priorities. Isaiah tells us, "Rend your hearts...and return to the Lord." St. Paul speaks as an ambassador for Christ, "Be reconciled to God...Now is the day of salvation." And Jesus gives us some practical means to get our priorities straight.
We are living in a world that overwhelms us with all of the nastiness of life. We only need to turn on the TV to see hate and greed, injustice and abuse. We see people being treated with absolute disrespect and we see people that think it’s their right to do so. We are persuaded into thinking that if you don’t want to be the victim, you better be the aggressor or if you don’t agree with me the best way to solve that problem is to lash out with violence.
If our only priority is “I, me and my” then that is all that we will be left with. If we can’t see beyond just me and mine, to those around us in the school or country or the world and recognize the needs of others then we are missing an essential aspect of who and what we are as human beings. We are at our core supposed to be in good, positive, loving relationships with people. but “How do we do that?”
Looking to the words of W.A.Ward, American author, teacher and pastor and our own Pope Francis --
We can FAST which means give up something that is negative…
…but we can also FEAST on what is positive and real!
We can …
Fast from judging others And feast on Christ that dwells in them.
Fast from the large double double And feast on giving to charity
Fast from discontent And feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger And feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism And feast on optimism.
Fast from complaining And feast on appreciation.
Fast from the Cafeteria’s awesome supreme
And feast on meatless Fridays
Fast from bitterness And feast on forgiveness.
Fast from thinking only about ourselve
And feast on compassion for others.
Fast from discouragement And feast on hope.
Fast from laziness And feast on enthusiasm
Fast from idle gossip And feast on purposeful silence.
And we ask God to help us with all of this during our Lenten Season.
You may have already decided that you are going to give up or do something for Lent but we will, as part of Morning prayer, focus on a different fast and feast each day during Lent. We can give up something different each day. And by the end of this Lenten season we will all be reconciled to God. ...Or at least a little closer.May God Bless us and give us moments of grace over the next 40 days.