Ash Wednesday – Day 1

Day 1 and if you’re like me, you were thinking ahead of how you might spend this Lent, thinking you want to maximize the experience, as if you were limited to this time period. You’re not, are you?

So I read the first reflection and decided I had better slow down. I thought about how we so often want to toot our own horn, brag about our accomplishments, say something so someone will take notice of us. As I consider what I will shed this Lent, (my wife would say, “How about some pounds?”), I wonder if I could do so without telling anyone. I wonder if they would notice.

Is it even important that they do? God notices. Isn’t that enough?

J

p.s. – The 2 ebooks are available as free downloads today, 2/13: I Believe (the year long one) here and Irrational Joy (Lent only) here.

Practicing What You Preach

Two days until Ash Wednesday and the thought occurred to me: Why not use my own Lent reflections book? I mean, what did I write it for anyway? Sometimes I think my own awareness is not where I think it is, and it takes several promptings for me to say, ‘Oh yeah, I will do that myself.’

Another thought that struck me yesterday, on the Chinese/Vietnamese New Year, is how often we take time to mark our lives, to renew and work toward change. New Year(s), birthday, Lent, Yom Kippur, Ramadan. Each culture finds a way to catalog life, sectioning it off into manageable portions.

So, follow along with me this Lent as I share some thoughts each day on my own journey.

John

p.s. – the ebook is available as a free download through Ash Wednesday.

Lent – Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday, a day to reflect on our destiny to return to ashes – at least our physical manifestation. This Lent I want to do something different. As I’ve reflected on God’s immenseness, the Sacred One’s unlimited essense, I’ve come to realize that it is beyond words. I’ve read some short essays by Einstein, and can see a certain clarification of my own journey. From fear to morality to . . . what?

I think many struggle with their fear of the unknown, their fear of dying. It’s normal to want to be assured of where we are headed, to know our destination, as if we can plan our life like we plan a trip to see relatives. As we learn to trust and accept things as they are, we move toward a moral universe, toward a construct of right and wrong. But with that we still struggle. Only now it can be marked by depression at the way others are treated (or even ourselves), a thirst for vengeance, for justice, for making everything fair. For trying to get all we can. Our due.

And we look to one above, one we identify as father, or mother. One we consider all-powerful, creator of all things in the universe. And yet, even in this vast universe, we want that omnipotent parent to protect us, to hear us, and to respond.

If you’ve ever looked down at a city while flying overhead, at the tiny little lights of cars on ribbons of road, the feeling of insignificance can be stunning. And you wonder, “How many billions of people are asking for things? Millions?”

We keep trying to define God. Enter this Lent, if you have the courage, by considering God as undefinable. If the sacred one is truly beyond all understanding, what would you do if you accepted God as not a male or female, not made in our image, but as exceeding comprehension. What if you considered that God didn’t answer individual prayer, or that God didn’t annoint one nation over any other; one people over any other.

What if God is, as Jesus said, the I am. God just is.

This Lent, I will rest in silence, to become aware of the God who is. You may also download my Ash Wednesday reflection in pdf format here.

John

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday, technically yesterday, began this season of Lent. If you’ve downloaded the pdf file, you may embark on a different kind of season. How different? Well, the first thing I want to do is take a deep breath. In order to prepare, it’s important to clear away the daily distractions, step off the path of the current race you’re in, and catch your breath before you begin.

Too often in the past I ran right into Lent with the intention of accomplishing a lot of change. This season, this Spring (one meaning of Lent), will be a time of discovery, and hopefully in that discovery a renewed sense of direction and self, and the appreciation and sharing of your gifts.

So relax, inhale and exhale slowly and deeply for the next few days, and prepare to begin on Sunday. Yes, that normal ‘free’ day. Another way this season will be different.

John