Here are some comments from around the blogosphere about the Lenten season that has now arrived:
Ash Wednesday by Joshua Hearne reminds us that
As we prepare to journey with Jesus through the desert that leads to Golgotha, we must take time to prepare for what it will cost both us and our Lord. We know that Easter will follow shortly in the devastation of that fated day because Jesus has come to offer life more abundant and not even death and sin will prevail over him. But, we cannot see that day from here. So, we must take time to prepare for the journey.
Clean Week and the Start of Lent by Mark Olson. This year the Western and Eastern church calendars agree in placing Easter/Pascha on the same day, April 4. Here is a brief glimpse at how my Orthodox brothers and sisters are welcoming the Lenten season.
Lenten Memory by Amy Cannon. Amy observes,
While it’s nice to know that advertisers were not the ones who invented long holidays, it is particularly probable that no marketing agency would ever come up with Lent. For Easter (and Passion Week as a whole), the Church has historically taken a different route of preparation than starting up the celebrations early. Lent is preparatory for the remembrance of Christ’s Resurrection because of its contrast to that fact of utmost joy, rather than its continuity with it. Lent is meant to be privative, the fast before the feast, a reminder of why we need God’s intervention in the world in the person of Jesus.
Ash Wednesday Inspiration from The High Calling by Mark D. Roberts describes a Presbyterian’s pilgrimage toward Lent.
Ashes to Ashes: One Baptist’s Reason for Observing Lent by Michael Westmoreland-White does the same thing from a Baptist perspective.
Gospel in the Dirt by Beth Felker Jones ends with a Lenten challenge:
Dust is a public testimony to who we really are. It strips away our facades. When we leave the church and run into friends and neighbors, they find it hard to look away from the dust on our faces. The problem, though, is that most friends and neighbors don’t know the biblical referents the dust contains and so can’t see the witness to our true human condition that is written on our faces.
So we’ll have to do something to translate.
We’ll have to speak the truth of that dust, not only in the marks on our foreheads, but with our words and our bodies. Perhaps our dirty faces can be a little means of grace. Perhaps they can be a nudge from God, the push we need to live out the truth of repentance in our everyday lives. Perhaps they can prompt in us the courage to go public with the truth that we are dust and to dust we shall return.