“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” So begins our 40 days of Lent, with a smudge of ash on our foreheads, in the same sign of the cross we received at our baptism. We are mortal and yet we are God’s, sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever. A true reminder of our identity, starting over from the beginning.
How will you keep Lent this year? Traditionally, we talk about the disciplines we follow as almsgiving, prayer and fasting. We might try to give to others in need, to pray more, to fast and abstain from certain foods or activities. As Jesus reminds us, we can do them for all the wrong reasons — usually for self-improvement, in our own eyes and the eyes of others.
But the point of this season — the point of all religion, all ritual and discipline — is authentic relationship with God. We do these things because we are in relationship with God and because we want to deepen that relationship, because our love of the God who loves us grows as we do these things.
So may we keep a holy Lent this year, beloved dust that we are.
Note: You can get ideas for observing the season on our Lenten Resources Pinterest Board.