It’s true. Lent is often taken to be that time when people give up something. So it’s thought of as a time of deprivation, a time to be endured, even dreaded. AND there is another way to experience Lent … not as a time of punishment or deprivation, but a time of deeper receiving. It's a time of mindfulness, a time of opening up more deeply to God's grace-filled presence.
It's a time of becoming a seed, still and waiting in the darkness, open to the miracle of resurrection yet to come.
Lent is a time when we plant ourselves in the mystery of God and wait in simplicity and humility. We wait because it says right on the seed packet, “Germination time: forty days.”
Lent begins in a very particular way with the marking of ash. It’s why we call it Ash Wednesday. Ash to remind us of our essential connection with the earth and our oneness with each other. Ash, a sign of our sorrow for the harm we have brought upon the earth and one another. Ash that reminds us that one day we will die and return to the earth. Ash that invites our trust in God’s inexhaustible love, who out of the ash, raises up new life.