Psalm 103; Joel 2:1–2, 12–17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b–6:10; Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21
I first stepped foot into St John’s church on the morning of Ash Wednesday
one year ago. I work nearby, so maybe I saw the church on one of my walks?
Or perhaps I recalled that the president sometimes attended here? Neither
of those reasons would have compelled me to get up early, Google the St
John’s website, and then set out for a church service on a weekday morning.
Something else was at work.
At the time, I had been walking different paths for a while. I was like
Goldilocks on a spiritual quest—one religious faith was too rigid, and another
was too soft. I was searching for the church that felt just right.
The energy inside St John’s was palpable that morning, and I was moved to
tears. Luis’ sermon seemed to be directed to me personally. “Lent is a process.
It is not about what you give up but about what you take on.” Although I am
paraphrasing Luis’ sermon on that Ash Wednesday morning a year ago, the
words ring true and challenge me still.
The path to God begins with awareness, and I am grateful that my spiritual
path brought me here. And once again this year, I am aware that Lent is not
about what you give up.
I freely give my time and resources to the church, but I am also aware that
I have scant interaction with the poor. So this year I am stepping from my
comfortable distance and taking on service to others during this Lenten
process—once again taking another first step.