Ash Wednesday

I read an article today about an Academic Paper written by a professor at the University of Cumbria in England. It is a rather alarming paper about climate change, global warming, and basically the collapse of society as we know it. It is sending some of its readers into therapy. Others plan to move to the country to get closer to the land in order to survive.

This professor thinks this will all happen in ten years and there is nothing we can do to stop it. This puts the Green New Deal into perspective, eh?

Now, other academics do not believe this will all happen in ten years, but they still think it could in matter of decades, or even a century. And none of the journals to whom this paper was submitted decided to publish it. So, I am not going to be alarmed, and I am not trying to alarm you.

But it did get me to thinking. What if I had ten years to live. What if I was able to say definitively that in 2029, I will be dead. What would I do differently than what I’m doing now?

Maybe I would retire and travel the world until my money runs out. Maybe I would dedicate my life to a certain charity that I like. Maybe I would give all my money away and go live in a cave as a hermit.

Well probably not that last one.

It really comes down to a choice. Would I worry about myself, or would I worry about others?

What if I had 40 days to live? Jesus knew he had about six weeks from today to live, if we take our calendar literally. Well, to live on this earth anyway.

Today we begin our annual 40 day fast to prepare ourselves for the feast of the Resurrection.

What is a fast really? Does it mean giving up something for Lent? I was always encouraged to do that when I was younger. Sometimes I made it, sometimes I failed miserably.

The word fasting comes from the concept of “to hold fast to something.” A “fastener” is used to hold something to something else. So, to take on a “fast” for our purposes means to “get ahold of yourself.”

To “get ahold of yourself” means to practice self-control. It means looking at that last piece of pie and saying “No, I do not need it.” For a guy like me who really likes pie, that is really hard!

But the nature of self-control does not always mean giving up something you like. It can also mean starting something that you know you need, but have been putting off because starting anything new is hard.

Laurie and I have just started something we have been needing to do, but have put off for some time, and that is to go to the gym every day to walk a mile. That is a good physical discipline.

Lent is a good time to begin a new spiritual discipline, as well. Maybe that is as simple as saying the Lord’s Prayer every day when you rise in the morning. Maybe it could be using the family devotions found in the prayer book. Whatever it is look at is a way to draw closer to Jesus through his Spirit.

Make this Lent a time of spiritual growth. Our Lord is calling to you. Will you answer?

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