We are three-quarters of the way through the season of Lent (if you can believe it!). How has it been, for you? What were your intentions and desires for this season, when it began 34 days ago on Ash Wednesday? What were the practices you took up, and the things you gave up for these weeks—and how has it gone? What has surprised you so far this season? When have you felt as though you’re “failing” at Lent? Because, you know, for all our intention and desire and liturgical-calendar-dreams, in the course of 40 days, a lot of life comes up. We can’t always “stick with” the fasts we have chosen, the practices and postures we have put on. And what then? How do you respond in that place? Do you double down, renewing your commitment, and trying your hardest to finish out the season well? Do you give up completely once you see the impossibility of sticking with it as perfectly as you had wanted? What emotions come up? Sadness? Guilt? Shame, even (“Why can I *never* get this right? What is wrong with me, that I can’t stick to this one little thing?”)? Or does hope rise fiercely in you, reminding you of what’s possible? Of “what the Holy One can do with dust”, as poet Jan Richardson puts it in her Ash Wednesday blessing? It isn’t really possible to “fail” at Lent, you know. The whole idea of it is to bring us close to our dust-ness, and to walk that with Jesus in the wilderness, as he succeeds in overcoming temptation FOR us. We aren’t earning our belovedness; we’re walking it out. Even (especially) when we feel our failure. So, as we go into this second-to-last week of Lent, let’s listen together for the echoes of “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return” reverberating through this season. Let's keep stepping into the wilderness places, with hope for what's next, yes, but also for what's right now: We're still here. Still dust. Still beloved.

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2022-04-04 14:12:57 UTC