The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What will you give up?

What are you giving up for Lent? If you around a certain group of people this spring, you will hear this question often.

I did not grow up celebrating Lent so I am a relative newcomer to this season of the Church Calendar. The first time I remember giving any serious thought to Lent and it significance was about 22 years ago. June, my wife, and I were going through a time of discernment about what was the next step in our journey with God and God’s people. We decided that the way we would acknowledge our commitment to this time of reflection would be to limit ourselves to soup and salad for the 40 days of Lent. (Lent extends from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday.) It was a wonderful time of unity in our home, our hearts and in our faith. In the end, we moved from our church at the time into an adventure of working with the homeless, the sick and the dying.

Now I am facing some more discernment in my life. Having joined the ranks of the senior population of our nation, I am wondering what God has for me in the next stage of my life. I did begin a new exercise experience on the eve of Ash Wednesday this year: I climbed a mountain. I believe that this mountain will be my time of discernment in this season of Lent.

What are you thinking about in this season of reflection? – Ron Friesen

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Are you ready to live?

You cannot really live until you are prepared to die. This is the message of the day observed in much of Christendom today: Ash Wednesday. 
People will attend services around the world today to "receive ashes." As the ashes are placed on the forehead of the worshipper, the minister will say, "You have come from dust, and to dust you will return." 
To be born is to die. No one gets out of this world alive. Of course, we do our best to avoid this inevitably. We watch what eat, we exercise, we dye our hair, we do all in our power to deter the reality of our mortality. 
Ash Wednesday launches the Christian season known as Lent. Lent is the forty days of preparation leading to Good Friday and Easter. Ash Wednesday reminds us that Lent is about the death of Jesus Christ. It sounds like Ash Wednesday is a day of sobriety and seriousness; it is except that this season does not end with death but with resurrection. 
You cannot really appreciate the power of the new life Jesus offers unless you understand that there is a death that makes possible the new life. You have to die to live! - Ron Friesen