I cannot remember the first time I heard the term – Lent – nor what I thought about it when it was explained to me. As a girl raised in the Baptist church, Lent wasn’t a part of our lexicon much less our spiritual journey. The idea of giving something up or taking something on, of penitential discipline, or of the color purple, hmmm who knew?

I certainly did know and understand Palm Sunday, Good Friday and of course Easter! O Joy of the Risen Christ – Alleluia, Amen.

So, as a relative newcomer to this whole liturgical calendar stuff I really really embraced (and still embrace) the penitential aspect of Lent and especially of Holy Week and the Triduum.

Now, most of you who are getting to know me already know that I am a pretty jubilant personality. I have an ability to see the joy even in the midst of sorrow and this isn’t based on a pollyannish perspective that there is no hardship in the world but rather a certainty that God redeems all.

However, on Ash Wednesday when we repeat, over and over again: Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return – I find myself responding in a visceral and dawning way to the reminder of my own mortality and the gift that God has given to me. My life is a gift from God and it is given through the very earth herself – a birthing from the richness of God’s earthly creation and infused with the breath of God’s eternal love.

To say the impact on me is profound – well – is the understatement.

It is through Ash Wednesday that my own journey into Lent begins with earnest. Whether I diligently remember to fast from something or not is really a peripheral distraction to the sharp focus that I find grounds me along this journey, a journey best walked with bare feet touching rich soil through a reality of human dilemma.

Come. Walk with me. Walk with God. Let us journey together in this season of that which is deep.