Wednesday, February 17, 2010
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:13-14
Today is my first Ash Wednesday serving in a congregation, helping a community to find ways to practice a holy Lent. I feel a great responsibility as I love these people completely and want to do my best to lead them. And I also know that my own personal and professional ways of faith might seem quirky and outside of the mainstream to some. In our household we often talk about ancient and modern practices of lenten sacrifice and "giving up", only to conclude most often that taking on is more faithful and effective to each of us than sacrificial giving up. Maybe I come from a very un-pious lot. And maybe, it is because we are all active faith participants and active learners - we learn by doing rather than observing. So for us taking up a regular journal, a regular service project, committing to laughter, forgiveness, beauty and love - for us these seem like the most holy ways to observe Lent. I can only conclude that God has formed us each exquisitely and uniquely different and so each of our pathways to a holy Lent will be as unique as the wonderful beings we have been created to be.
So today,I invite you today to enter into an ancient stream of faith. To dip into deep and ancient waters that carry each of us forward in our faith. Each of us enter with a different set of needs, different struggles and unique approaches to our faith. God has made us wonderfully individual and so God will provide the steam and the method for each of us, which will carry us, renew us and wash us clean as we prepare our hearts and lives for Easter. Today, I invite us all to dive in, completely as we are, human, broken, confused and resistant, defiant and afraid, needy and anxious, reluctant and skeptical, hopeful and terrified. For God has promise to meet us right where we are to redeem each and everyone of us - to make us a holy people in a holy season.