With these truth telling words, we begin our Lenten journey. The odd behavior of the church calendar is intensified as we journey in a season whose beginning is determined by a lunar calendar and whose themes and stories of promise are a counterpoint to the despairing narratives of our world. Lent speaks a prophetic word to a world mired in violence and greed; it offers hope and comfort to those weighed down by fear and loss. Ashes signal the solidarity of our common humanity and our common mortality; signed in the shape of a cross ashes speak to us that we are the baptized children of God and inheritors of all of God’s promises. Fasting, alms giving, and prayer are ancient disciplines and patterns of observing Lent; and as one prayer has it – let us pray that our fasting be a hunger for justice; our alms, a making of peace, and our prayer, the chant of humble and grateful hearts.
It is important that we journey in solidarity together as we turn again toward the God who has already turned toward us. Let us bear the mark of ashes together for these 40 days as a sign of hope. Come for worship on Wednesdays and Sundays; become a confirmation mentor; be part of the Beloved Community Experiment getting to know other members; participate in Do Justice conversations; find ways to serve neighbor in service and advocacy - as we wait for the Easter fire to be kindled.