Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, the season in which the Christian faith becomes real, if it ever does, in our secular world. In other Church seasons, we are in our heads, thinking about who Jesus is, what the Christian faith means, what Christians believe, etc. Ash Wednesday invites us to enter into the wonderful mystery of human life as we know it, and to restore a balanced wholeness, if we can find something like that.
In some parts of the world, today is a carnival day. Parades in New Orleans and other places show human beings in splendid and exotic display. The scenes are extraordinary. The sadness that often follows such events is ordinary. Parades end with messes. Parties, from which some were excluded, end with disappointment and hangovers. Celebrations of visual, sexual, gastronomical, and emotional excess have the useful effect of showing the limits of our capacity to arrange happiness for ourselves….for very long.
Protestant Christians–or Christians of any kind, for that matter–are no longer driven into Lent by church authority. Christians are invited into the springtime of Lent as a spiritual reality and as an opportunity for reflection and improvement of our lives.
Life, in all its dimensions, including those paraded extravagantly and thrillingly in Mardi Gras parades–art and attire, sex and food, emotion and human interaction–all might be parts of a balanced, human life. Ash Wednesday calls us to disciplines that restore balance and help us make healthy, humble choices that result in joy and loving service.
In Lent, Christians are invited to claim life in its richness, to find patterns and habits of living that bring satisfaction, healing, assistance to others, and peace for our own restless hearts.
Tai Chi Fridays at 10:45 am. These gentle exercises will begin with a meditation on scripture. The fishbowl will be set out for contributions to Intern Allen’s travel costs from Cambridge each week.