Sin wants to isolate us; Lent comes along and reveals our common (broken) life.
We travel through the desert in the company of others.
I used to think of the ashes as a sign of separation, how far I am away from what God wants. But in the spirit of Philippians 2, the ashes spoke something else, not only how far away I was but also that I was not alone. At Ash Wednesday I not only own my mortality and the gap of sin, but receive a mark, a reminder I have a Companion who can and will walk with me, all my forty days.
Jeff Munroe explores the gap between leadership and followers:
What fascinates me instead is the gap that I believe the administration initially stumbled over – the gap between what the church teaches on the one hand and the actual belief and behavior of most Catholics on the other. I’ve been wondering if there are similar situations in the RCA and CRC, wondering what gulfs exist between official church policy and the actual beliefs and behavior of the majority.
What gaps do you see between what we officially say and what we actually do? How do you account for these gaps?
Call it a gap or a wink, but there is also something Lenten about this. Lent’s focus on recovery through discipline speaks to the lack of integrity in our lives, corporately and individually. We’re always saying two things. Or three. In this, the mix-up on contraception shadows our own mixed-up lives, the desire to do right mixed with the desire to establish ourselves a little better; likewise, there’s leadership on one side, the pew wandering in its own way. Or perhaps it’s like the sweets we put away Tuesday, the gooey music that’s so much fun and can fill a mouth with joy, but we know it really isn’t that good for us. Yet.
So here comes Lent with its challenge to die, and in so doing to catch a glimpse of what it can mean to be a little more whole, be a little more integrated. I open the hymnbook, scan the latest addition to political outrage only to hear my heart’s tug and know the gap opens wide in me, as well. What else can I say, but give me an open ear, soften my heart, help me to open this still-clenched hand.
Heal this wounded soul.