Ash Wednesday: here we are. We begin this Lenten season with a moment of repentance where we turn back to God and change our mind, recognizing our own need for a new beginning. This is our “great do-over!” A time when we remember that we are humans. That we are dust and to dust we shall return.
For some of us this can be a wilderness time. And there’s great value in wilderness. We learn the most when we fail.
We learn the most when we take a time away to consider who God is in our lives.
But in this time of recognizing our humanity it is also a time to recognize others’ humanity as well. I have been concerned in the last few months as this increasing trend of dehumanization of other people. “Those people” are looked at with denigration. People who have been wounded or hurt, their hurt is trivialized or looked at as somehow less than our own.
But we are God’s people. We are people called to make use of the time we have to build up the kingdom of God. To offer a cup of cold water to those who are in need. To listen with ears attentive to the Holy Spirit and what God may be saying to us.
When was the last time you were able to hear God?
When was the last time you were able to speak about God’s love and transformation in your own life?
I pray in this Ash Wednesday and Lenten time we will consider again who we are as God’s people. And rather than listening ready to respond in a moment’s notice with our own erudite responses, that we will listen with mercy. That we will listen with God’s ears, hearing the brokenness and the need and the sorrow around us. And instead of offering rejection or dehumanization, we will offer love and redeeming and forgiveness.
This is our time to start over, to have the “great do-over.” So in this time of beginning again, I wish you mercy and peace. And most of all perhaps, hope and love.
Blessings be upon you in this holy season.