RCL Ash Wednesday
Joel 2:1-2 and 12-17, Psalm 103:8-14, 2 Corinthians 5:20b–6:10,
Saint Matthew 6:1-6 and 16-21

The hardest thing I have ever repetitively done is to jump into a cold swimming pool and to begin to swim laps. The board said the water was 80º, but often it was 78º or 79º. There was no way to prepare for the icy cold, no way to manage the plunge and its effect on my sensations and circulation. When I jumped, I was in control. I could wait indefinitely and get nowhere. But that’s all I could do. The moment I jumped, however, I lost that control. When I went under the water, I had no choice but to adjust to the abrupt and startling change.

I am beginning to see the leap into Lent as being more like that jump than I had previously imagined. We cannot properly enter Lent without remembering what Lent celebrates: Jesus’ jump into Jerusalem, into his passion, death, and resurrection, into an unimaginable new reality.

I discover that it is harder to leap into Lent than it is to leap into cold water. Very few of us, and I am not one of them, can abandon ourselves into God’s hands alone, into his grace alone. Lent is a time to let our cherished myth of self-sufficiency die an overdue death. Can I simply fall into Lent, unsure of the outcome, but certain of God’s grace along the way? Can I make that leap, a leap of faith, unsure of the outcome, except to trust that my need for God will not be misplaced?