Welcome to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
Lent is a solemn time in the church year, which for most seems gloomy, depressing, and dark.
I love Lent. I, actually, find it life-giving but I will get to that in a moment.
There are many ways Lent has been celebrated with different practices for the forty days of fasting, different philosophies and theories on the why and how. This is the normal direction of my Ash Wednesday sermons, but bear with me because we are doing something a little different tonight.
I was thinking what is the true intent of Ash Wednesday and Lent, not simply how we practice it. There is a poem in “Celtic Praise”* that, well, more poetically poses my question. It is entitled Controlling the Heart.
The priests tell me
that if I sin with my will and inclination,
it is as if the deed is done.
My conscience tells me,
that if I want to sin but restrain myself,
God will bless me for my virtue.
Does sin lie in the heart or in action?
Minute by minute I can control my actions,
but it takes a lifetime and more to control the heart.
It takes a lifetime and more to control the heart, after all that is where our intentions lie. Right? Read the rest of this entry »