Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday 2008

Good day to you, sir or ma'am. Fasching, Carnival, Mardi Gras and Shrove Tuesday; they're all yesterday's news as our array changes from green to violet. It's a strange Ash Wednesday in NoVa-land, with temperatures hovering in the low 70's. The day feels much better suited for Queenscliff or Geelong, where balmy February days are generally the rule.

Sadly, Lent seems to be little more than a carnal cease-fire. A time for our bodies to issue a temporary restraining order against its induldgences. Some swear off swearing while others will step away from sodas. These are pale substitutions for Lent's original objective.

Lent is rooted in a time of preparation. Her two fortnights were a time when converts made their final preparations for their public confession of Jesus as their messiah. In an age where a public acknowlegement of Christ could result in a violent death, conversion wasn't a casual act undergone through repeating a "sinner's prayer". Martyrdom was beyound conceivable and the convert knew this. There was a true cost to be counted.

Though I wouldn't pretend to know your expectations for the next 40 days, I want something more out of Lent this year. I don't want these proceeding 40 days to pass without profound, permanent change in my life. I want this to be time spent in the Lord's Gym, a season growth and a time of maturation.

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Collect for Ash Wednesday

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