Why pause for Ash Wednesday, the gateway to Lent which climaxes in Good Friday and Easter 40 days from today? The following are three simple reasons: 1. Encountering God. Abram once entered the deep, terrifying darkness and encountered God there (Gen. 15). Moses wasn’t looking for a burning bush on the day he was summoned (Ex. 3). Jacob was trying to sleep when he wound up headlocked by an angel (Gen. 32). Ash Wednesday is positioning ourselves for such an encounter. 2. Rhythm. In our 24-7, non-stop world, God invites us to a rhythm – in our days (Offices), weeks (Sabbaths), and years (the church calendar). Unlike the world which centers its calendar to the school year or vacations, we anchor our lives in the Incarnation (Christmas) and the Resurrection (Easter). 3. Mortality. This day reminds us of that we created, limited beings. “Dust you are and to dust you shall return.” We are more dependent on Him than we realize. Take a few minutes to ponder the meaning of the cross and resurrection, asking God to prepare you these next 40 days to embrace more fully these profound spiritual realities. And if you are in the New York City region, I invite you tonight at 7 p.m. to New Life Fellowship Church for a Taize, Ash Wednesday experience. You too may be invited to respond to a divine encounter.