Two years ago, I attended my first Ash Wednesday service at an Anglican church.
The words still echo in my mind this time of year:
“For he knows our frame, and he remembers that we are but dust.”
A special silence lingered as people proceeded up the middle aisle and the pastor placed the sign of the cross on each person’s forehead.
While I didn’t quite know what all the symbolism meant, I could recognize these patterns.
Giving up for the sake of drawing nearer to God.
Recognizing my mortal state, and that Christ joins my humanity.
There is a solemnity in suffering that is lost in our modern culture.
That the ash on my forehead must be some type of symbol that I’m Christ’s and joined to his suffering.
If I truly believe my baptism, that I died and am raised with Christ, then I must actually travel to the cross with Christ.
Repentance and receiving Christ’s forgiveness must fuel the long, lonely journey to the cross that we take with Him.
None of us truly know what journeying to the cross with Christ will look like any given year. He reveals Himself to us anew. But maybe start here: Embrace the solemnness of the season. Realize that you live in the Easter hope, yet linger in emotions other than joy.
Lent is more than the question, “What are you giving up?”
A deeper question is, “With whom are you journeying? Can you bear to see Christ as the Suffering Servant?”