“Yet even now, says the Lord, repent and return to me with all your heart.” –Joel 2:13
This morning I read a beautiful blog post that captured the heart of the Lenten season. Here is the *introduction: “Today is Ash Wednesday—the beginning of the Church’s observance of the Lenten season. Ash Wednesday ushers us into a space in time in which we engage very intentionally into the disciplines of prayer, self-examination and repentance. But these disciplines—as significant as they are—are not ends in themselves. They are a means to an end and that end is that we would return to God with all our hearts.”
I grew up in an evangelical Christian tradition, but my family never really practiced a strict observance of the Church calendar. In the last few years we’ve tried to grow in our understanding and appreciation of not only the Christian and Jewish calendars, but our personal practice and participation in them with our community.
Returning to God begins with repentance and the ashes on our heads remind us of our human condition. Even though the thought is sobering it is also hopeful. The next 6 weeks can lead us through our own weakness and back to His heart. I hope to give up some “screen time” this Lent, but also to not become so focused on the fast that I forget the end: to “return to God with all [my] heart.”
*If you’d like to read the whole article you can find it here.