Today is known to the Church as Ash Wednesday. Lent begins every year with Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday. In total, Lent is the 40 (plus 6 Sundays) days before Easter, and is a time set aside for believers to take on a posture of penitence, fasting, prayer, and self-discipline. Our minds and bodies and souls prepare for Christ’s death and resurrection by embarking on the wilderness journey just as the people of Exodus had and just as Jesus had done before his ministry.
The Day’s Scripture
Jesus was led by the Spirit to the wilderness to fast and be tempted—before it all began. Not all wandering in our lives is futile and done in vain. Take us to the desert, Holy Spirit, so that we can journey with Christ with increasing dependency on you Lord, the giver of food to eat and water to drink. And when we are tested sustain us with the truth of who you are and minister to us drop by drop, step by step, breath by breath. Sustain us and don’t abandon us. And when we are famished allow us to reimagine the world, your love, our relationships, our purposes in life—how we are poor and powerless and/or neighbor to others who are poor and powerless; how we have come from dust, and return to dust; how precious and full of dignity every child’s life is; how all bodies are fashioned in your image and we tread this ground with brothers and sisters.
Jesus, we lift up to you in our frail, cupped hands our worries. The stresses of work; the heaviness of debt; the broken lines of communication; the diminished feelings of worth; the fruitlessness of our labor; the endings; the beginnings of new and strange things; family; school; the overwhelming injustices of our world. Help us to takeon this Lenten journey these words as our guide: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’