A friend remarked the other day, “It sounds funny to say this, but I am really ready for Lent to start this year.”
But it makes total sense. To look forward to Lent is to recognize the need to slow down and settle in, especially after the frantic pace of the holidays and the New Year. A well practiced Lent is a time of intentionality, prayerfulness, and simplicity.
The season of Lent can function like a spiritual spring cleaning. Instead of tidying a living space, we get to tidy our lives. I strongly recommend having a Lenten practice, and I always advise choosing something not too heroic, unless that’s your thing. Usually, it is better to commit yourself to one or two things that you know you really can do so you can succeed every day. And whether you take something on or give something up, whatever you do will be a chance to be more aware of the presence of God in your life each day. Even if it is something as simple as giving up dessert—a classic choice—you’ll have a chance each day to be intentional in your actions. In any daily practice, we will train ourselves in self control. The more we practice, the more control we will have in the choices we make, and practicing in small ways will help us grow so that we can ultimately do harder things, like practicing forgiveness.
Ash Wednesday is the entry point for the Lenten journey. The powerful worship service this day helps us take stock of our lives as we turn our hearts to God. We mark our heads with ashes, which is a sign of humility and a reminder of our mortality.
I invite you to begin this journey today, and to do so knowing that you will be walking the way together with the St. John’s community near and far—as well as Christians around the globe. Lent is indeed a season worth looking forward to, walking with Christ these next forty days and drawing nearer to Easter with every step.
The Rev. Robert Fisher, Rector
Links to the appointed readings and prayer for today: