Ash Wednesday

Today was Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent, the forty-day (not counting Sundays) season leading up to Easter.

I was raised Protestant. Methodist, to be specific, in a small town. We didn’t observe the seasons of the church year. Christmas and Easter seemed to be sufficient for marking time in the church while I was growing up.

Times have changed, though, and more and more Protestant churches are appreciating the practices of the historical and liturgical church. Personally, I enjoy the change of color as paraments change in keeping with the seasons of the church year.

Ash Wednesday, however, was an observance I never quite embraced, and still haven’t, really. I remarked to a colleague the other day, “I am reminded on a daily basis of my own mortality and my sinful nature. I don’t really need a special day in the church to amplify it.”

This evening, though, as we were going through the liturgy, it occurred to me that perhaps the significance was that it was about me: my mortality, my sin. Living in a culture that seems to value finding and lifting up the sin in others, maybe this season is about finding that log in my eye.

Maybe, in that sense, this observance of Lent is about observing myself and looking to correct myself instead of finding the deficiencies in others.