Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a journey that takes us through the wilderness to the week of passion, the cross of Good Friday to the empty tomb of Easter morning. It is a time to grow in our faith and in our commitment to God through how we live our everyday lives as followers of Jesus Christ. The discipline of Ash Wednesday and the rhythm we establish for our Lenten pilgrimage has great potential to lead us into profound spiritual growth as we acknowledge where we are on the journey and accept the grace of God's guidance and direction in terms of where we are going into the future.
Lent, although often dreary and dry by its very nature, can be a very fertile time in which to nourish the seed of faith God has planted within us. That's why taking time for spiritual reflection, prayer, reading of scripture, alms giving and fasting are built in to these 40 days ahead of us.
I always pray at the beginning of Lent that it may be a poignant journey; that I will arrive at Good Friday and ultimately Easter morning ready to enter fully into all that becomes real for me in my life and faith. These days, I hope, will be about intentionally and sincerely being attentive and recognizing the essence of all that is holy.
The words to this hymn came very naturally for me. They speak to me of all that this holy season is meant to be about. And by the end, the final verse, is the reminder and proclamation that we will be renewed and find for ourselves that God's love is indeed previewed.
The tune is one that is familiar; it is the music that goes with "There is a Green Hill Far Away". Perhaps that is not coincidental since that hymn is very much part of the experience of Holy Week and the story of our Lord Jesus' death so that we might have life.