The season of Lent is the unique season of low laying for lovers of Jesus the Christ. It begins on Ash Wednesday and continues through Holy Week. According to tradition, on Ash Wednesday Palm leaves from the previous year’s celebratory Palm Sunday are burned and the ashes rubbed onto the foreheads of the faithful in the shape of the cross. This is done as a solemn reminder from whence we have come. Genesis 3:19 reminds us of this timeless, universal and humbling truth: “For you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Indeed.
Our earthly bodies are transient. They will grow old and become resistant to our “willing” them to remain young and vibrant. Thus, the sooner we come to terms with our finiteness the longer our souls will have to contemplate the infinite. From the least to the greatest we all end up returning to the same dust from which we came.
Ecclesiastes Ch. 5:2-3 says “Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.” May our words be few this Lent as we are laying low. May the Cross of Christ be the conscious catalyst for our conduct during Lent and every ensuing moment.
May this prayer excerpted from The Valley of Vision prayer-book be realized in our lives today: “O God…We pray thee for a conscious experience of his salvation, in our deliverance from sin, in our bearing his image, in our enjoying his presence, in our being upheld by his free Spirit. Let us not live uncertain of what we are, of where we are going. Bear witness with our spirit that we are thy children…Give us closer abiding in Jesus that we may bear more fruit, have a deeper sense of our obligations to him, that we may surrender all, have a fuller joy, that we may serve him more completely. And may our faith work by love towards him who died, towards our fellow-believers, towards our fellow-men.”
The lower we lay the higher we soar.
Chaplain Mike Evans Valley View Village, Des Moines, Iowa