by Amanda Watson
“…the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.”
-Ash Wednesday, BCP p. 265
Lately I feel that I have placed my life in slo-mo—slow motion. It is like that scene in movies where the young man and young woman see each other and rather than race towards each other, their steps become elongated, hesitant and deliberate. Desiring to be at a certain place but getting bogged down in the sand.
Lately I have become bogged down—I like the term bogged down because it is the image of feet trying to move but heavy from the weight of the mud. And yet this year seems to be passing so quickly; it is Lent already! and I am still in this bog. How can I? So as any good Episcopalian I turn to the Book of Common Prayer. What are “we” (I am not alone) praying? I slowly read the liturgy for Ash Wednesday. There are great words there: penitent, create and make new and contrite hearts, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness. Penitent, contrite heart, lamenting wretchedness. Our God who hates nothing that God made and forgives the sins of all who are penitent. I tell myself, “get over yourself!” We have 6 weeks to renew or repent and renew our faith. We have this wonderful opportunity in this season of Lent to look at the mud weighing us down—our “need” to return to normal, our “need to be free of constraints of covid, our “need” to decide for ourselves where we want to go and what we want to wear or not wear. I need? No. What I need is to return to God, the God who loves and who calls us to love—the God who forgives. Why stare at the mud when we can stare directly into the eyes of love?
Alleluia! For this gift of the Church, this season of Lent, to offer each of us the time and the tools to wipe the mud from our feet and shoes, the tools of repentance and renewal of faith through “prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditation on God’s holy Word.”
“Let us make a right beginning; let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.” AMEN, AMEN!