I remember the first time I attended an Ash Wednesday service. I was not raised in a liturgical church, so I came to this liturgy for the first time as a ‘two year old’ in the faith in my mid 20’s. Reading the litany of penitence was a real eye opener that laid my heart bare: ‘…we confess to you Lord…our pride, hypocrisy, impatience, self-indulgent appetites, exploitation of other people, our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, our envy, our negligence in prayer and worship….‘ Oh, on and on it goes. Things I had not examined in my life but needed to be addressed.
To examine our lives is a perfect start to Lent. We need this discipline, and we need it more than once a year! But each year as we confess these things again to God, I am again renewed in my faith in a merciful God, and drawn to love Him more.
As I have been preparing myself to observe Lent this year, one word comes to mind for me: Surrender. What area of my life have I yet to surrender to God? I might as well surrender everything to God, since I am ‘dust and to dust’ I shall return. But I don’t know exactly what God has for me to focus on this Lent, so I intend to listen, and hopefully will be ready to surrender whatever he call me to.
What is God calling you to this Lent?
As we are invited once again to observe a holy Lent, I offer you this prayer by Ted Loader from his book, Gorillas of Grace
‘Oh, God, let something essential happen to me,
something more than interesting or entertaining or thoughtful.
Oh, God, let something essential happen to me,
something awesome, something real.
Speak to my condition, Lord and change me somewhere inside where it matters,
a change that will burn and tremble and heal and explode me into tears,
or laughter, or love that throbs or screams or keeps a terrible cleansing silence
and dares the dangerous deeds.
Let something happen which is my real self, oh God.’