A Blessing for Lent

This year, February 17th is Ash Wednesday, the commencement of the Lent season.
As we move into this season, I pray that we will find our lives characterized by the dying and rising of our Lord.
May the discomfort, pain and confusion of your life (I do not ask whether you have any, for we all do) take the shape of His cross—in other words, may the Lord grant you a measure of understanding its redemptive meaning.

In many cultures there is an ancient custom of giving a tenth of each year’s income to some holy use. For Christians, to observe the forty days of Lent is to do the same thing with roughly a tenth of each year’s days. After being baptized by John in the river Jordan, Jesus went off alone into the wilderness where he spent forty days asking himself the question what it meant to be Jesus. During Lent, Christians are supposed to ask one way or another what it means to be themselves.
If you had to bet everything you have on whether there is a God or whether there isn’t, which side would get your money and why?
When you look at your face in the mirror, what do you see in it that you most like and what do you see in it that you most deplore?
If you had only one last message to leave to the handful of people who are most important to you, what would it be in twenty-five words or less?
Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you would most like to undo? Which is the one that makes you happiest to remember?
Is there any person in the world, or any cause, that, if circumstances called for it, you would be willing to die for?
If this were the last day of your life, what would you do with it?
To hear yourself try to answer questions like these is to begin to hear something not only of who you are but of both what you are becoming and what you are failing to become. It can be a pretty depressing business all in all, but if sack-cloth and ashes are at the start of it, something like Easter may be at the end.
– Frederick Buechner

And with this, I pray that you find the Light of Easter in the end. May the consolations, pleasures and moments of clarity in your life (again, these come to us all) have the shape of the Lord’s empty tomb.
“I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead” – Philippians 3:10-11

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5 thoughts on “A Blessing for Lent

  1. I like this final statement: “It can be a pretty depressing business all in all, but if sack-cloth and ashes are at the start of it, something like Easter may be at the end.”

    Thanks for the exhortation to plan a time of reflection — 1/10 of a year. Interesting thought.

  2. Good excerpt, it really does speak to me where I am. Very convenient that Easter is coming soon. I think it will be one of the first that I really come to empathize with what it really stands for.

  3. One emphasis that I have come to appreciate is that Lent isn’t always about giving something up. It’s about rearranging life so that something else can be gained. In a way it is a time of hard analysis about what needs to die within us so that we can be more Christ-like. I really appreciated the quote from Philippians, that we have company in our suffering through our brother Jesus Christ. And yes… thank God we have Easter at the end of the dark tunnel.

  4. Pingback: 2010 in Review — Generated by the Folks at Wordpress « The Long War

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