I spent this evening with the ash of burnt flax smeared across my forehead.
It’s not a normal way to spend a Wednesday evening.
But Lent is a wonderful way for us to challenge ‘normal’.
Lent challenges me that there are things, many things, that become important to me. Things that I can and must give up. Not because they are bad, or that the act of giving them up makes me more pious. Holiness doesn’t work that way. We give things up because in the act of sacrificing we become more fully human.
Lent reminds me that I love God more than I love my things.
And Lent encourages me to make a change. To take something up.
Not, again, as an act of piety.
Not as an act of ‘self improvement’.
Not as a ‘new years resolutions take two’.
But as an act of creativity. An exploration of Kingdom life.
An openness to try something new for a season.
I love it. It is good.
Our journey toward crucifixion and resurrection carries us through both points.