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Tag Archives: 40 days

Ash Wednesday: A Close Encounter

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. Read more.

Desert Fathers and Western Christianity

Over time I have become more convinced, not less, of the application of the radical simplicity of the Desert Fathers of the 3rd t0 5th centuries.  They fled to the desert in order to seek God and eventually serve as a life raft for a church that had become almost indistingishable from the world. The church in the West is in a very similar state. The answer begins with us as pastors and leaders of God’s flock, I believe. As Tolstoy once said, “Everybody wants to change the world, but noone thinks of changing himself.” I think he was right. There is only one pathway – the pathway of Jesus.  Ronald Rolheiser in The Holy Longing outlines this as the only way to profound transformation. We repeat it over and over again in our walks with Christ. 1. Name your deaths   (Good Friday) 2. Claim your births    (Easter) 3. Grieve for what you have lost and adjust to the. Read more.