Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

I didn't grow up observing Lent. When I was in high school or college I gave something up once or twice but all I can remember understanding is I need to give something up so I could hunger more for God. While I am sure there is some truth in that meaning I wanted more explanation. How does giving something up help me get closer to God?  So I started reading To Dance with God by Gertrud Mueller Nelson. Nelson talks of the celebratory time before Lent and how this is a time when we observe in us the chaos or the masks we wear on a daily basis.

Nelson writes "Carnival, for all its look of madness and its possible danger, is the wish to honor all that wells up from the forgotten levels of our souls which, on every other day of the year we would rather not look at or recognize but which does need a period of consideration and celebration." 

She goes on to say it is in this time of consideration that Lent begins. We ask God to show us our masks, drawn from the deep what is within. This is not a happy season (no wonder it hasn't been commercialized). I am very nervous and timid to ask God to reveal what I often can't see. Instead, I would like to fast forward to Easter forget about Lent and dye eggs. But alas my spirit beckons me to take this journey of introspection. I am unsure of what God will show me. I am more afraid that faith will not carry me to finish these forty days of reading and prayer. 

"Misunderstandings, losses and failures, separations and loneliness, loving and longing, the fears we know deep down, all cast long shadows across our days because we cannot come to the light unless we are willing to enter into the darkness." Gertrud Mueller Nelson

1 comment:

  1. Last year was my first time to really observe Lent, and I truly learned a lot from the experience. This year, I've wanted to study the season more and the reasonings behind everything that happens. Good luck on your 40 days!