The Holy Season of Lent
For many Christian churches we began on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13, an annual season of more intense prayer, self-denial and penance. This season which we have come to call Lent will hopefully see us grow in the holiness which God wills for each one of us during these next few weeks, we are going to see the world around us change dramatically. The days will grow longer and warmer. The ice and snow will melt away and the first buds of spring will appear. The air will begin to feel a little more like summer and a little less like winter. The drab and darkness of winter will be transformed into the color and promise of spring.
Again, for many Christian churches the ancient biblical symbol of ashes and the somber color of purple used at the beginning of Lent will be eclipsed in six weeks by the light and flowers and Alleluias of the Easter celebration.
The change we see around us should also be experienced within us during these weeks of Lent. The very word “lent, has come down to us from the ancient Anglo Saxon word “lencten” meaning “springtime.” Like springtime,Lent should be a time for transformation… for change… for becoming the people that God has called us to be. It is a time,as the prophet Joel tells us in Chapter 2 beginning with verse 12 for “rending our hearts,not our garments.” And returning to the Lord. The ashes used by many churches on Ash Wednesday should be quiet symbols of something much deeper… much more powerful… much more lasting going on within us. In accepting these ashes we acknowledge the fact that we are sinners that we are less than faithful to our baptismal name of Christian. But in accepting the ashes we also accept the challenge to become as Paul writes in the second letter to the Corinthians in chapter five “the very holiness of God.” May this holy season indeed see you grow in ‘the very holiness of God.” Have a grace filled Lent.