On Getting it Wrong
Well, my first post and it was so wrong. Wrong in that it was information overload. Wrong in that it was heavy on arcane fact, and rather light on reflection and contemplation. Wrong in that although it was heavy on fact, I actually omitted any information an why yesterday is known as Ash Wednesday.
So why was this? Because yesterday was all about time management, or rather the lack of it. As a result I wrote my post more because I felt I had to, rather than having anything to say; having failed to allow very much time at all to be still, empty my mind and listen to God. I wrote with one eye on the clock as I needed to be in the Cathedral by a certain time for…..yes you’ve guessed it….The Ash Wednesday Holy Communion with imposition of ashes.
But God, no doubt watching in detached despair at my feeble and disorganised start, came to the rescue. First he gave me (and everyone else present) the gift of a wonderfully contemplative, serene, and deeply powerful service; for which thanks to all the clergy involved in providing that. Then he provided me an opportunity to offer service by having the second lesson dropped on me at five minutes notice, whilst heeding my supplication not to make a complete mess of it; and finally, in that lesson (2 Corinthians Ch5 v20 – Ch6 v10) he showed me a passage of Scripture that I hadn’t really thought about, or indeed been too familiar with, and from which I learnt much.
So today’s factoid is that Ash Wednesday is so called because of the practice of covering oneself in ashes as a sign or mourning or repentance Daniel Ch 9 v3 states “3And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes”
Having dealt with the factoid, what have I learnt from yesterday? Above all else, to make time for God. Also, to think and reflect about what I’m actually trying to do here. One thing I’m sure I don’t want to do, and absolutely shouldn’t be doing, is to be showing off my supposed “knowledge” of Church history and liturgy. First, because I know I don’t know as much as I think I do, and secondly as 1 Corinthians Ch 13 v2 reminds me “2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”
As a result, I have tried to spend today making time to be still, and to try and listen to God. I can’t claim that I find that easy, but isn’t that the point of Lent? In the hustle and bustle of today’s “me” world, taking time to simply stop, get out of the rat race, even if only for five minutes, and look at something more important than job, impossible car repair, or getting a blog on the net.
Finally, Day two of Lent: “So what do I do if I’ve already broken my fast?” (I haven’t by the way). Well as I see it, giving stuff up for Lent is about using that self-denial as both an act of repentance and self discipline, but more importantly as an aid to reflecting about how we can become more Christlike and walk just that bit closer in His footsteps. God, knowing the secrets of our hearts, is not about to turn you into a pillar of salt/smite you with fire etc if you succumb to that piece of chocolate/glass of wine/rare steak. All you have done by breaking your fast is demonstrate that you need to work a little harder at the repentance and self discipline, and spend less time arguing with yourself as to whether chocolate powder on your cappuccino counts as chocolate.