Posted by: alliehope | February 6, 2008


Silence, repentance, fasting, prayer. These are the things the soul needs on a day like today–the day the Western Church marks as the beginning of Lent. The 40 days stretch endlessly before me now, reminding me of my mortality, frailty, sin, and ultimate hope–not found in anything I can accomplish or have, but in Christ alone. I find the lyrics of a Jars of Clay song floating around in my head:

But if I can’t swim after 40 days/ and my mind is crushed by the crashing waves/lift me up so high that I cannot fall/lift me up

(Jars of Clay, “Flood”).

Appropriate, isn’t it? If after 40 days I haven’t learned anything from Lent this year, i will have to question why I even undertook the observance. I have not yet decided what study or anything I will do (there’s a couple I’m debating), nor what service to undertake. All I know is that something must change in my spiritual life, and change quickly. And so I go in prayer, seeking Holy Wisdom.

A Prayer for Ash Wednesday

O God, Maker of every living thing and Judge of all You have made, from the dust of the earth You have formed us, and from the dust of the earth, You would raise us up. By the redemptive power of the Cross, create in us clean hearts and put within us a new spirit, that we may repent of our sins and lead lives worthy of Your calling, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

(Written by Laurence Hull Stookey, 20th. century, as found in The United Methodist Hymnal).

And so I challenge all of you who bear the name of Christ today: take a few moments to sit quietly with the Lord–doesn’t have to be three hours or anything like that. Read through Psalm 51, that great passage of repentance and hope written by David at his most broken. Come to Him freely; He is waiting for you. May His peace be with you today.


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