Granite Springs is joining in with churches all around the world to mark the season of Lent. This time in between Epiphany and Easter can be challenging to enter into but our hope is that we can do so together as a community and learn to see God’s movement during these few weeks.
Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.
Whether we’re familiar with the Church calendar or not, this is often the time of the year when things seem to be moving quickly…too quickly. The New Year has come and gone (perhaps along with our resolutions). Epiphany feels like it just began last week, but was actually almost two months ago.
Into this rapid flow, enters Lent. On Ash Wednesday (the start of Lent), these words are spoken throughout the world: Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.
Those words are jarring, unlike anything we hear throughout the Church year. At Advent, we look forward to Christ’s coming. At Christmas, we celebrate his birth. During Epiphany, we marvel at the fullness of the God’s revelation in Christ. For Lent…we remember that we are dust.
Lent seems, well, so much about us. It seems that way because, in a sense, it is.
Lent is a season of spiritual realization. We don’t turn away from God, but as we look at God, we recognize our own fallenness and the things that distance us from him.
However, Lent is not just about realization. For most of us, our journey through Lent is not a sudden discovery. We’ve known that there are things we need to be put aside or experience with greater moderation. We’ve known that not all of our practices are bringing us closer to God.
Even more fundamentally, Lent is a season of spiritual remembering. In the midst of demanding schedules, workplaces that require ever-increasing energy, and our circus-like juggling of family commitments, we need help remembering the brokeness in our lives that we prefer to ignore. Lent provides a season for us to do so.
But we don’t remember in order to wallow in our imperfections. Remembering in the Christian life is always a restorative experience. The Spirit literally re-members us, putting our disjointed and fractured lives back together as we pay attention to his leading.
When we see Lent in this way, it becomes a season not of internal torment, but of restoration and grace.
Chuck DeGroat writes this about Lent:
“No one ever told me what a gift it would be to return to the ground of my being, to relinquish the exhausting attempt to fly just a bit above everyone else, to relax my fatigued ego. No one ever told me that Lent was an invitation to rest.” (DeGroat, Falling Into Goodness, 4)
This Lenten season, you’re invited into this simple liturgy: Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return. Remember it, rest in it, and experience afresh the grace of God which pulls us back together from our disjointed, distracted, and destructive ways and invites us into his beautiful work of redemption in our lives.
We hope you reflect on the complexities of this season of Lent and enter into conversation with others as a way to process this season of the church calendar. Here are few questions to ask yourself and those in your community in reflection.
- What has the season of Lent meant to you in the past? Or is it entirely new to you?
- What emotions do the words “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” stir up in you?
- How might this season be different for you if you look at it as a time to rest as author Chuck DeGroat suggests?