Grace and peace to you all. February is upon us, and with that we look to Ash Wednesday and Lent. Our mid-week Lenten services this year will be, Created for Community. As our ELW states,
We are created for communion with God, to love one another, and to live in harmony with creation.”
As I recently discussed with our confirmation students, Lent is a sacred time. It is a time to reflect, repent, acknowledge, anticipate, and hope. In addition to this, Lent, in the early church, was a time of intense preparation. Preparation specifically for those who would be baptized on Easter, by studying the Creeds, Scripture, and the Lord’s Prayer.
Baptism, as we all know, is all about community. It is about welcoming the newly baptized, and being welcomed into the everlasting community of the Triune God. Baptized in the name of the Father ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.
Which is why Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. Here we are marked with the cross of Christ, the same cross we receive at our baptism. And yet the words said on Ash Wednesday are so different…
Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Words that harken back to Genesis when God created Adam from dust, a reminder of our finitude on earth. And yet, even in this ashen mark of death, we know the long journey of Lent will end with Easter. Easter is a promise of new life, where all are welcomed into the community that God created for us.
As we journey together this Lent, may we deepen our community. May we unravel what we are created for on this side of the cross, as we anticipate the hope found on the other side of the cross.
I look forward to our Lenten journey, and for discovering how the Holy Spirit is calling us, created for community.