Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. We will mark this day at our Episcopal school by participating in a liturgy for the day and having ashes imposed on our foreheads to remind us that “we are dust and to dust we shall return”. It is the beginning of the season of Lent. The marking of the forty days leading to the rising of Christ at Easter. In this time we walk with Jesus as he faces the trials of temptation, betrayal, false accusation, and finally crucifixtion. We will rejoice upon his resurrection but for now we wait.
Many traditions look to this as a time of simplicity, a time of sacrifice. Many of our children at school embrace a token “discipline” during this time. I will do so as well, giving up my two favorite food items-ice cream and coca-cola, as a symbolic gesture of sacrifice. But, these are trivial things. Luxuries.
In order to truly find discipline, I must take an area in which I lack in my humanity or Christianity and attempt to make it whole. To fight back my own sinful temptation and make myself impervious to its wrangle. For me, this is laziness. Most of my friends would say, “but you’re so busy.” But alas, I am only as busy as I choose to be (thanks JME). I’m busy in my work life, but yet I let go of what is really important for the sake of trying to get on the right side of the finances. What can I replace or change to spend more time in prayer? What can I get rid of that will allow me to really spend quality time in community with loved ones?
I do not, as usual, have the answers as of yet. I pray that as the season of Lent moves forward that I will not look upon it with the same glibness as I did advent. I pray that I might finally find that balance of true discipline; for I truly believe that it is in this that I will be the most happy.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and rewnew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presnece,
and take not your holy Spirit from me.” Psalm 51:11-12