If we are too busy, if we are carried away every day by our projects, our uncertainty, our craving, how can we have the time to stop and look deeply into the situation-our own situation, the situation of our beloved one, the situation of our family and of our community, and the situation of our nation and of the other nations?”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Lent is a powerful time of year. It begins today – Ash Wednesday and will last for 40 days (excluding Sundays – which are feast days – you can break your fast). Lent is a time of preparation for the Holy Season of Easter. It has been a time when the church has encouraged it’s followers to fast and pray and give alms to the poor. In popular times, that is manifest in people giving up chocolate, sugar, junk food, desserts, and on and on the list goes.

Lent is most accurately a time to self-reflect. It is a time to look in. It is a time to take up more disciple in prayer and in justice. Tonight we celebrate that call in our Eucharistic celebration at 7:30 PM. At that time we will have the imposition of ashes. We will all leave the church bearing the mark of Christ on our foreheads. It is a powerful reminder of what is said for us in baptism – “I sign you with the sign of the cross and mark you as Christ’s own forever.”  It is also a reminder of our mortality- “remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return,” are the words used in the imposition of ashes. This celebration is not, however, morbid. On the contrary – it is a celebration of the eternal promise we are given in Christ Jesus. Ash Wednesday is a call to all Christians to respond to the need in our world by living a closer relationship with God.  The quote above reminds us that if we want to make change a reality in this world that we have to look inside first.  

The Outreach and Justice Team and St. Mark’s has planned a seven week series entitled  “A Lenten Series for Justice and Peace.” There will be a different focus on Justice each and every Wednesday evening. You can see a brochure by visiting the parish web page at www.stmakschurch.net . This week the series begins with a Sunday Night Dinner for Doctors without Borders. It begins at 5 PM and a free will offering will be taken to assist DWB in their mission. Perhaps you can email me and let me know you are coming as we are trying to get a rough idea of numbers. We would love to have you attend. Lent is more than giving up your favorite food. It is indeed an opportunity to change ourselves and change our world.  So let us do that by looking inside first. Do plan on being at our Justice Series. It will be a great disciple for Lent.

Today has been a lot of fun as we have had kids from St. Mark’s and around the deanery here for a children’s program. Lots of activity. You will see photos later today.  So the journey begins. Start your Lent out properly by joining us for church tonight at 7:30 PM.