In worship on Ash Wednesday, we were invited “to the observance of a Holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word” (BCP 264).
As we take up the disciplines of Lent, our aim is not to punish ourselves or to suffer, but to become more aware of the passing of time and our need to make the most of the lives God has given us. You may have heard these words of Henri Frederic Amiel, which are often used as part of a blessing:
Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden
the hearts of those who make the journey with us.
So, be swift to love, and make haste to be kind.
When we hear the words, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” we are being invited to no longer put off those things we need to do in life, or that we need to say to those we love.
At the end of the rite of Thanksgiving for a Child in The Book of Common Prayer are these words:
The Minister of the Congregation is directed to instruct the people, from time to time, about the duty of Christian parents to make prudent provision for the well-being of their families, and of all
persons to make wills, while they are in health, arranging for the
disposal of their temporal goods, not neglecting, if they are able, to
leave bequests for religious and charitable uses.
Lent is an appropriate time to remember these instructions and to make this loving responsibility a part of your discipline. If you have made your will, check to be sure it is up-to-date. If you have not made advance directives for your health care, please do so. Planning for the end of life is not something any of us wants to do, especially when we are relatively young and not worried about our health. But remember this: Jesus planned for his departure and gave his disciples instructions about what to do when he was no longer with them. Shouldn’t we do the same?
Kara Swisher wrote recently about how a brush with her mortality sparked new awareness. I have attached the article.
And here is Ron Rolheiser on God’s loving and gracious call to be mindful.
Finally, here is a video of Episcopalian Michael Gerson’s recent sermon at the National Cathedral, in which he reflects on his own struggle in the wilderness and hope for the resurrection.
I hope you find one or all of these reflections helpful and that your Lent may be a gracious and fruitful season.