A couple days before Lent I got word that a friend had died. I was in an Institute of Christian Studies classroom with Don for a year when I was studying to be a deacon. Don was going for a license to preach in the diocese, something he later did at his home church. He also would serve them as a senior warden. His cancer had not even been completely diagnosed, it was that quick.
Giving up a friend for Lent had not been something I anticipated.
At our Ash Wednesday service I felt more sombre than ever going up and down the altar rail, marking the cross in ashes on people. People who were Don’s age (not yet retired). Younger. Even the five year old who was baptized the day I was installed as a deacon at All Saints’. To one and all, I echoed words that God Himself first spoke to Adam. “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
The death sentence, not to be too coy about it.
When I consider my own brokenness and inability to walk a straight path with Jesus, I think that sentence might be a merciful one. What need is there to further document well established short-comings?
But I also realize that this death sentence is, truly, the key to the full and abundant resurrection life Jesus plans to bestow on me. Resurrection requires at least that one thing of me first.
Good, then, that during Lent I can practice on a multitude of individual surrenders and sacrifices. Think of it as my preparation.