Reflection by Scott Stoner
The power of the liturgy for Ash Wednesday is grounded in how directly it addresses both our mortality and our need for forgiveness. Remembering that we are dust and to dust we shall return has a way of putting things in perspective. It is in the context of our mortality that we are reminded that the time to seek forgiveness and strengthen our relationship with God and others is now.
The season of Lent has different meanings for different people. For many, it has a positive meaning in that it provides a context to go deeper in one’s faith journey. For others, unfortunately, the season of Lent has a negative association because it has been connected with guilt and shame. This negative understanding of Lent is captured in a response I have heard more than once: “I have decided to give up Lent this year because I am tired of making myself feel bad.”
This devotional approaches Lent differently, with a positive mindset, one that is described in the words of Psalm 51—read in the context of the Ash Wednesday liturgy—“Create in me a clean heart, O God and put a new and right spirit within me.” The goal of Lent is not to make us feel bad, but rather to renew our spirits. It is similar to the reason people choose to exercise on a regular basis—to renew themselves and make themselves stronger.
Making It Personal:When you think of observing the season of Lent, are your thoughts positive, negative, or neutral? What has your history been of observing this season? If at end of this season of Lent you are to experience a renewed spirit, what might that specifically look like for you?
Follow along with us this Lent season with our daily devotional and engage in discussion in our closed facebook group moderated by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner & The Rev. Jan Kwiatowski.
In this group, participants will have a chance to share their responses to the prompts in the daily readings, and also the chance to receive additional material for reflection.