The liturgical season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday which is March 6 this year. It goes for 40 days (not counting the Sundays in Lent) and comes to an end on Easter Sunday, April 21. You’ll notice that 40 sounds familiar: the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years; Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness. 40 days signifies a good long time. Time long enough to feel unmoored from life as it was prior to the experience of wilderness, time long enough to challenge assumptions of what could be depended on to preserve life. Both for the Israelites and for Jesus, it became clear fast enough that the only thing, the only One, who could sustain them in their wilderness time was God. All other things would pass- identities as slaves, identity as Joseph’s son. The one thing that would endure and even grow was their identities as God’s own.
During our 40 days, I invite you to spend time in fasting (doing without food or some kinds of food for a designated period of time throughout the season) and prayer with the purpose of sharpening your awareness of the parts of your identity that do not sustain your life and therefore you might let go. Reflect on how an identity as God’s beloved son or daughter strengthens your life and your purpose in the world.
It is a gift to have this time set apart to reflect on the workings of our hearts—examining what we cling to, what we need to let go of, what we need to grab hold of. As we move through Lent toward Easter, may we discover together what it means to God’s beloved in this time and place. May we be blessed by that discovery not only for our own good, but for the good of the world. I’m grateful to be on this journey together…..