From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me, O God
– Audrey Assad
Today is Ash Wednesday; the beginning of Lent.
Lent was (and is) not really something practiced in our church tradition. Pentecostalism was marked, amongst other things, by a desire to do away with many things that appeared liturgical or overly religious, and simply ‘follow the promptings of the (Holy) Spirit’.
So the Christian calendar (at least, apart from Christmas and Easter) was not something observed in our rhythm of worship. For its many wonderful qualities, I do think our tradition misses out on something by not observing some of these very old rhythms.
In my own situation, this Ash Wednesday, I am in a foreign country and away from friends and family. Perhaps as a result, I am acutely aware, maybe more than normal, of the significance of the season.
After all, by its nature, the season demands a certain amount of introspection and solitude.
Am I ready? I think of Him, I think of my faith and reflect on my shortcomings. I am grateful for His sacrifice.
Without Lent, without this season today, would I have this same sense of self-examination?
As the Teacher says in Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for everything under the sun”. And the reality is that this includes times of reflection and times of sorrow, along with times of celebration and times of joy.
Without the balance, we cannot appreciate the extremes.
So, today, I am grateful for Lent.