Ash Wednesday

Your plan this Lent… or God’s?

The prayers of the liturgy are rich, and one of my favorites is the collect of the Mass for Ash Wednesday: “Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.” I love the image of entering […]

Remember that you are dust

"Expulsion from the Garden of Eden" (detail) by Cole Thomas

Next week, our churches will be packed with people, as the human spirit is drawn to the annual observance of our sinfulness. Why are people drawn to church on Ash Wednesday? I would like to believe that even amongst the din of modern culture and the silencing of conscience, there remains something in us that remembers who we were created […]

Practical Lessons for a Deeper Faith this Lent

"Sermon on the Mount" St. Matthew's Church altarpiece by Henrik Olrik

An Invitation to Enter the Desert with Christ As we begin the Lenten season today, we are called to enter the desert with Christ; to turn away from sin and towards our God. Many of us realize that we are called to face difficult questions during this penitential season.  The challenge we face is not only for us to ask those questions, […]

Reclaiming Carnival

We are in the midst of the season of Carnival right now.  It will culminate next Tuesday on what various cultures call Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday. Like another upcoming holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, this is a festival of the Church which has been stolen by our secular culture that’s obsessed with eating, drinking, and making merry.  To say […]

You are Dust: The Chemical Origin of Life

"Creation of Adam" (detail) by Michelangelo

On Ash Wednesday, the minister marks the cross on our foreheads with ashes and says, “Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return.” It is a reminder that we are human, that in death our bodies will remain on the earth and decay while the souls of the just will go to meet God and wait to be reunited with […]