Today was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent for many Christians around the world. I’m not much of a Lent person, for reasons I’ll get to at some point during this season. But I appreciate the general intent of the season and find the possibilities of the season moving.
Brad East of Anderson of Abilene Christian University had a piece posted today at First Things that is both wonderfully written and spiritually pointed. Here’s a sample:
Ash Wednesday is the start of the Lenten season. Today we remember that we are east of Eden but short of Zion. In order to journey toward the passion of Christ in Jerusalem, we begin in the wilderness. We fast with Jesus. We suffer want, steeling the will against the suffering to come as we make our way to Golgotha.
“East of Eden but short of Zion.” So well-said. He continues:
But we also know that beyond Lent lies Easter: the Resurrection and the promise of eternal life. And so Ash Wednesday reminds us not just that we are mortal, but that the only way beyond death is through it—and that Christ has gone through death for us. We are marked by death, then, both because we are mortal and because we have already died with Christ in the waters of baptism. We have been crucified with Christ, and marked by his death. We now journey toward Easter and eternal life.
No ashes for me this year (it’s been a while, actually). And not really any particular “giving up” of anything. I am continuing my months-long reading of The Divine Comedy. Beyond that, I’m looking to spend some time with The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis (which I’ve tried reading once many years ago but just couldn’t get into). Beyond that, it’s getting through the end of this quarter and not crashing and burning before the school year ends.
Even still: “East of Eden but short of Zion.” It’s a map well-laid.