The cross points to the sullen sky as the bells chime for us to listen but do we listen? Do we hear the bells over our modern lives? Do we see the ashes upon the foreheads of others? Do we slow down to witness the presence of Christ in our midst? Do we know that it is Ash Wednesday or do we only know of the celebration of Fat Tuesday – Mardi gras? Do we realize that life is not only about the joy and the celebration but also about the soul searching, the sacrifice, the conversion of heart and the Lent of our lives?
Each year my church community undergoes the season of Lent. It is a time to pause and reflect inward about how we are living our lives, how deep our relationship is with God, how we can reconcile our sins and begin as something new, something fresh and pure of heart at Easter. It is not about depression, acting as a martyr or depriving ourselves so others can see our allegiance to our faith. Although over time these have been seen as the outward signs of Lent. A time of conversion should be personal between you and God. It should be a time of reflection and private denial with you and your family. It should be a time of deeper prayer, searching and a need to better one’s life through faith and your faith community. The process takes one through self- reflection; sorrow for our sins but to the full conversion of forgiveness and living the life that God has intended. It is a time to die to oneself to live fully in God.
Take these forty days as Jesus Christ did in the desert when he was tempted, alone and hungry and feel the hunger of your soul yearning not for the things of this world to fill your soul but for Jesus Christ. Feel the pangs of hunger and the isolation of being far from God in the sins you commit. Let these emotions be real, embrace and accept them, reflect on them and then let your heart be changed. Find your way to God. Sin is that which takes you away from God, ask for forgiveness and reconcile your relationship with God. This Lent give yourself the permission to explore, discover and change your life for the better for an eternity with Jesus Christ.