Ashes

1 John 1:3-10

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 

Lent is not a season that we look forward to. The season begins in the dead of winter with the symbol of black ashes, focuses on our weaknesses and shortcomings, and ends with the very difficult story of the death of Christ. 

Yet we need Lent. We need Lent because we aren't perfect, because there are dark parts of our lives, and because the events of the betrayal and death of Jesus did happen. Christians understand that as difficult as it is to spend time focusing on our deficiencies, it's much better than the alternative of brushing our problems and shortcomings under the rug and pretending that they're not there. 

Now, if we were just to wallow in our failures and our sins, that would be terrible. But the point of Lent is not sorrow or joylessness. The point is healing. We can't heal until we acknowledge our faults and our pains. That's what the season is about, and that's what the ashes are about. The first step to healing is the acknowledgement that we have wounds and that we lack. The joy of healing can then begin. So Ash Wednesday is a blessed day. The opportunity to confess is a blessed opportunity. Let us share in it together with the hope of healing and looking forward to the joyful days ahead.