Today is a day to bow together in humility before God. We are human, limited, temporary. We will come and we will go. We will sleep and we will wake. We will live and we will die. As the pandemic rages for a second Lent, we acknowledge our mortality as we receive the gift of ashes.
In his brilliant novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez brings to life the itinerant visionary Melchiadez. Melchiadez visits the town of Macondo regularly, bringing magnets, ice, a telescope, and other amazements from the world beyond. To the people of this remote place, the visionary Melchiadez “always seemed to know what was on the other side of things.”
On this Ash Wednesday, we live in the present as we yearn for what is beyond, on the other side of things. Isaiah 58 is a strong Biblical text for daily Lenten meditations, describing what is while trusting God for what will be. These meditations by lay and clergy friends will enrich your Lenten journey.
Lent creates space for our faithful confession: We need and depend upon God and the human family. We acknowledge pride, hurt, harm, and misuse of power. We are in solidarity with all who are in need. We await God’s healing and restoration. We hear God say, “Here I am.” Fasting, we begin the forty-day journey toward God’s watered garden of Easter joy.
O God, our deliverer, guide now the people of your church, that, following our Savior, we may walk through the wilderness of this world toward the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.