On the eve of Ash Wednesday may we give thanks for the promise of light. We live in a world that seems to be thriving in darkness. May this season of Lent allow us to focus in this dark and find the cracks where light is trying to push its way through. Where it is struggling to enter let us bring the promise that light will return.
The light will return. It will come again when the darkness has grown old and self-confident, arrogant in its assumption of power, when the clash of armies seems unending and the voices of hope have become but a whisper. Then the light will appear, in the deepest place of fear, least expected, a glimmer in the hand of the poor, a flicker among those who refuse to forget how to love. And the light will become brighter, with each one of us who turn to see it, warming us where our pain is greatest, releasing us to see one another more clearly, a light to follow, to cherish, to protect. Look up now.
The season of shadows is over. The light will return.
(The Very Rev Steven Charleston)
On the eve of Ash Wednesday, I often find myself in grateful reflection.. Another year has passed (ever notice how our church calendar gives us ample opportunity to re-member ourselves — mini New Years abound). This past year I have experienced God’s healing grace, reminded of the intricate pattern healing and wholeness weave. I have “walked” with others through death’s valley and celebrated the warm rays of resurrection. It has been a familiar year — God’s culture has touched me and my community.
On this eve of Ash Wednesday, I prepare for tomorrow’s task. With ashy finger tips, I will look into the faces of strangers and friends, children and adults, stroke the sign of the cross on their foreheads and remind each of where they came and will return. Each time the words are spoken I am moved by the reality of our fragile nature and feel God’s hand, palm open, gently cradle all of her beloved.
Once again we are free to be forgiven. And a new year begins…
How light do we travel? How far do we go?
Reflections from the Presiding Bishop
After another full day I still have a strong draw to this past Sunday’s Gospel reading. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem — oh, how I long to gather you as a mother hen gathers her brood…”
I see Jesus tilt his head with a look of deep compassion and the knowledge of the pain before him. This image became stronger as our choir sang — “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” — a peace that is still longed for today. With great care and edge of sadness, Jesus tilts his head. It would be so easy to look out over this vast humanity, put a hand in the air and say ‘I’ve done what I could’. Yet with a heart of a mother, he holds the dream of all it is possible and looks before the reality.
What a familiar struggle in any human relationship– the potential and the reality. How many times do we stand in that tension and feel the frustration, stretch to find the words, stretch to try and find the way to make things right? How many times do we feel the ache of letting go? To reflect on this reading — may give us insight into the emotions we witness as Jesus prepares for the last days.