“Life is a luminous pause between two mysteries that are yet one.” — Carl Jung
On Ash Wednesday, Christians remember the “two mysteries”: ashes to ashes, dust to dust. In other words, we come from the dust of the earth, and to earth we will return.
This isn’t intended to be either morbid or depressing — the “luminous pause” is where we are now: life! In our pondering, we look at our lives and consider if we’re meeting our potential. Are we living the life we’re called to live? Do we celebrate enough? Do we serve enough? Do we share enough? Ash Wednesday contemplation helps us with our living, reminding us we are made in God’s image, full of potential for good and beauty and hope.
It also marks the beginning of Lent — 40 days of preparation for Easter. Lent focuses on the stories of how Jesus lived with compassion, with broadening the idea of what community looked like, and with challenge to unjust powers…which eventually got him executed. Some traditions view Lent as a season of penitence or renewal, again, encouraging us to look at how we live. (It’s not just about giving up chocolate for the sake of suffering!)
No matter if Ash Wednesday is a part of your history or completely new to you, you are welcome to show up just as you are.
Show up with your curiosity or questions or doubts.
Show up with your own interpretations of Ash Wednesday and Lent.
Show up with expectation of the unexpected.