Blessed Ash Wednesday, friends. Today, we begin the season of Lent, journeying with Jesus through the end of his life on earth (until: RESURRECTION!). Such a strange time to be entering a somber season, still immersed in the worldwide pandemic as we are. One thing that Lent and quarantine have in common is that they are both based on a concept of 40 days. The Latin roots of the word quarantine actually refer to a length of 40 days, so that a person could be sure to be free of disease (and the risk of passing it on) by the end of that time period. It is the length of ritual purification from ancient times, and is still used in many cultures (for example, after giving birth in many parts of the world, women - and their babies - stay home for a full 40 days before reentering their usual routines and exposure to others). Now, we have been in a prolonged quasi-quarantine this past year. It began during LAST Lent, and here we are again, still isolated in many cases. So, as we enter into another forty days of awareness of the brokenness of ourselves and our world, still reeling from a pandemic, consider what this next forty days might be for you. Is it a space to sit with the reality of yourself (with God) for a length of time? This is often what comes up when we begin any fast – discovering how ________ we actually are, when we hadn’t realized it with all our customary props in place. Is it a time to – daily – be reminded of your own death (and how Jesus’ death brings life, even there)? Is it a space of learning how to care better for others, even as we continue to be mostly isolated from most of them physically? Is there something in your heart that you would want to pray for forty days? An ache? A cry of lament? A thanks-giving? If an invitation has arisen (perhaps in addition to - or in connection with - a fast you may have chosen), write it down somewhere. Begin today (and begin again tomorrow). May these next forty days be a sweet (if somber) time for your soul.

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2021-02-17 15:02:07 UTC