Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. With the placement of ashes on our forehead, we acknowledge the words, “From dust you come and to dust you shall return.” Words that describe our mortality, the prospect that we will all die some day. So we take time now to face our own death as we also reflect on Jesus’ death on the cross. “For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.
I continue to be a fan of the Slow Lent Movement. I have posted in past years regarding it and still think it is helpful today. I wrote this a couple of years ago.
Bishop Margaret Payne introduced me to the Slow Lent Movement several years ago and her passionate explanation of our need for it still rings true.
She spoke on how pastors have bought into the seduction of our culture’s three A’s: Accomplishment, Adrenalin, and Affirmation. As pastors we think our worth is based on how much we accomplish in our congregations and we enjoy the adrenalin rush that comes from having much to do and being needed by many people. And we relish the public affirmation that often comes from having our hands in many programs and ministries. I found myself nodding my head several time, recognizing my own self-delusions being exposed by her words.
But I don’t think her words are limited to pastors. In spite our professed trust in God’s grace, so many of us who are Christians still seek our self-worth based on our accomplishments. We rush about trying to fulfill the many “shoulds” we carry inside our heads. We seek public affirmation even as we feign humility. We have bought into the prevailing culture without seeing our need for a new way of life.
This year for Lent, I am focusing on a specific act of slowing down: prayerful eating. I will write more about this in next week’s post.
Lord Jesus, teach me to rest in you.