This afternoon, I got goosebumps as I reflected on the beginning of Lent. I look forward to Lent as a time of closeness with the Lord, as He walks alongside each of us in our personal wildernesses.
I did not attend Ash Wednesday service at church this evening, because I am trying to avoid bringing the flu home to my husband and my mom — both at high risk for serious flu complications. My heart is both at home and at church, however, as I look forward to returning to church soon.
So back to the goosebumps. Maybe Lent has an even richer meaning for me after the past year, when my family trekked through the wildernesses of heart failure, depression, and anxiety. We lean on Jesus in the desert of grief as news headlines announce yet another mass shooting. Sometime plain old despair is the temptation we face in our desert.
But blessings have also abounded in recent months. Prayers for healing and recovery draw us close to the Lord and to each other.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’“ Matthew 4:4
“and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor” Isaiah 63:1
I love to observe this sacred day in community, at church. Today was a different kind of Ash Wednesday, but no less rich in meaning. And Easter is on its way.