For many Ash Wednesday is a curiosity. I remember being in school as a young boy that we could tell who was Catholic or Episcopalian by the smudges on foreheads on Ash Wednesday, (and sometimes on the day after depending upon how well folks had washed).
There is something deeply human about Ash Wednesday and the invitation in my tradition to the keeping of a Holy Lent.
Recently through the work of Richard Rohr and Ilia Delio and their connection between the Cosmic Christ and the origins of the universe, I have come to a state of nearly constant awe that we are all made of bits of the matter that burst forth from the womb of creation at the instant of the Big Bang.
We are all made of cosmic dust that has been present through all of time and we will return to the creative heart and imagination of God when we are dead and buried. It may seem to some a rather macabre thing to be in awe of.
For those of us who follow God through the life, ministry, death, resurrection and ongoing life of Jesus of Nazareth it seems to me this has to be the ground of our hope that all of this will end well.
For the next 40 days, excluding Sundays, I hope to rest in my awe and become active and faithful in new ways as I continue in the becoming, the continuing unfolding of what God seeks to do through me.
For me this kind of inner work is not limiting, but rather profoundly freeing. My 'success' as a follower of Jesus does not depend on my ideas, or my imagination, but chiefly in my willingness to watch and see, listen and hear, treasure and love the presence of the Cosmic Christ that dwells in all that is around us. Everything and everyone created bears the thumbprint of God.
That's nothing short of awesome as I've come to understand that word. Come Holy Spirit and guide me through my time in the desert to the place of my resurrection.