Dear friends, Ash Wednesday, which falls on February 10 this year, marks the beginning of the six weeks of Lent. It is early this year. As I write the snow is falling. I am not ready for Lent yet, but here it is. For us as Christians, Lent is a time for reflecting on the reality of Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion as an innocent man; a time for preparing our hearts for the glory and hope of Easter. The transition from Crucifixion to resurrection is so much more than celebrating the cycle of life. We are seeing life spiraling from finite death to infinite new life in the mystery and beauty of God’s saving power and love for creation.

Lent used to be and for still is a time for giving up favorite things. And surely there is value in fasting to clear our minds, to identify with those who hunger both physically and spiritually, or to focus our hearts on meditation. Lent can also be a time for embracing new practices, praying, journaling, inspirational reading.

Lent can be a time for acting against those things that lead to Jesus’ death: jealousy, greed, power, Iies, political intrigue, the pursuit of nationalism at any cost.
However, each of us chooses to observe Lent, the six weeks of Lent mark for us a time to remember that we journey with Christians throughout the world toward the hope and joy of Easter when stones are rolled away and life comes tumbling from tombs, when angels proclaim the good news of resurrection, when Jesus walks among us, the risen Christ. We serve a God who in Christ has been vulnerable among us, experienced human suffering, tasted death and overcome it. God has the last amazing word.
It has stopped snowing and night is falling. The sun will be out in the morning. We ready ourselves over the next six weeks to open our hearts again to the great good news of Easter.

Ash Wednesday and Lent 2016 message