Lent began this week on Ash Wednesday. I have to confess...Lent is my favorite season of the church year. First and foremost, it is my favorite because it just not going to be commercialized nor co-opted by the powers. I mean could you imagine the powers that be promoting a season that calls us to remember our mortality? Budweiser isn't going to turn lent into a memorable commercial for the super bowl. Costco isn't going to promote self denial and restraint. Gold's Gym will never adopt the slogan "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Which leads me to my next reason for loving Lent...
During Lent we get to tell the truth about ourselves. We are not God. We are mortal. We are wrong. We are broken. We get to tell the truth that drinking the right beer, even ones chosen from this blog, will not make us better looking, younger, or more attractive. Nor will it cause dogs to form special bonds with horses for that matter. Shopping at the right stores will not make us better people, and no matter how much we work out, no matter how much we torture ourselves, we will not live for ever. It's the simple truth, we are dust and to dust we shall return. In Lent this truth is our starting place. We start with ashes to remind us that we are not God, to remind us just how far from God we are.
Now, before you think I have turned into a puritan, please keep reading. This truth is our starting place, our beginning not our end. This truth will set us free because once we admit where we are we can begin the journey of transformation toward being a resurrected people. Admitting the truth immediately orients us toward God. We can only begin to journey in God’s direction once we are steadfastly pointed in that direction. I'll be writing about steps to take along that journey over the weeks of Lent. Right now, however, let's sit with the truth: no matter what a financial advisor, a doctor, a government, or a car company tells us, we are mortal. We are far from God, and it is time to turn on the truth and head back toward God.