Ash Wednesday

So, we had friends around yesterday for a Shrove Tuesday pancake feast – or “Mardi Gras” if you prefer.  If you don’t know about either, consult Wikipedia.  Finished up all the open alcoholic beverages in the house too, though there wasn’t much left because, in preparation, we haven’t been buying much lately.  (Oops! – Both sets of guests brought wine!  To be left unopened till Easter…)  We also put the unused coffee grinds in the freezer.  For Lent, Renata and I are drinking only water and herbal teas.  Time for sobriety and considering our ways.

“I know hardly any other writer who seems closer; or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ himself,” says C.S. Lewis of Scottish writer George MacDonald.  I’ll be following MacDonald’s Diary of an Old Soul for the next 40 days.  Most of these short meditations require careful reading to understand.  The entry for February Twenty-Five:

There is a misty twilight of the soul

A sickly eclipse, low brooding o’er a man,

When the poor brain is an empty bowl,

And the thought-spirit, weariful and wan,

Turning from that which yet it loves the best,

Sinks moveless, with life-poverty opprest –

Watch, then, O Lord, thy feebly glimmering coal.

I picture MacDonald standing out in a cool autumn night watching a lunar eclipse, reflecting on the condition of his soul.

In about an hour I need to head out for the Ash Wednesday service at church.  I’m not scheduled to do anything, and I’m hoping I won’t be asked at the last minute.  I want to sit, listen, absorb; think about the times my heart turns from that which yet it loves the best, and ask the Lord to watch over his feebly glimmering coal.

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One thought on “Ash Wednesday

  1. I’ve often found lent a rather strange event (hey, that rhymes).
    The somewhat arbitrary giving up of something (usually something trivial),
    because that’s just what we do at lent.

    Very rarely have I seen it have much of a spiritual dimension. I remember Miriam last year skipping lunch and using that time to pray; that struck me as excellent because it’s not just self-denying without direction, it’s actually aimed at loving God : )

    Personally I’ve found fasting to be helpful when I’ve really wanted to dig into God. But I think I would find it akward to do it at lent every year. I think it lends itself better to the times when we actually ARE desperate for God.

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