I bet you already know this… the Winter Olympics are in full swing. Athletes from around the globe are slipping, flipping, sliding, and gliding in the frigid temperatures of PyeongChang. Daring young people in peak physical condition are vying for medals and some are doing all the right things to win. It is inspiring to watch the pageantry and tote board of medals. Even as arm chair athletes we are thrilled by the spills and wins. Human beings seem to be hard wired to enjoy competing and the triumph of winning.
Today is Ash Wednesday. This day marks the beginning of the Lenten season. Some of us may think of it as the Christian Olympics where we get a chance to flex our spiritual muscles through feats of piety. The events are fasting, praying, alms giving. Some will try to perfect techniques and earn gold stars. Others realize the futility of earning God’s love or grace because it is freely given. Still more, will use the season to reflect on God’s treasure of salvation which gives permission to give up societal dedication to racism, violence, and fear.
The season of Lent reminds us that we stand in need of repentance. We need time to practice our faith, and reflect upon Jesus journey to the cross so we may know the joy of the resurrection. May this prayer guide our journey.
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
--1979 Book of Common Prayer. Public domain.