Ash Wednesday, March 9, 2011

by Stephen P. Hagerty

“Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.” –Eugene Peterson’s translation of 2 Corinthians 5:20

I don’t know about you, but the thought of Lent can be a bit exhausting: yet another series of promises and obligations so that I can get closer to God. This year, I have decided to take the same approach as I do to my New Year’s resolutions. For many years, my resolution was to gain weight…seriously. I figured if I did (and I was pretty good at eating), I would have at least kept a promise to myself; if I lost weight, which I occasionally did, well, I lost weight! Win, win, as they say.

I think the temptation for us Episcopalians, who have one of the most beautiful liturgies around, is to think we have to do more to get closer to God, particularly during this season. More bowing (45 degree angle please), more singing, more Rite I! We forget (on purpose?) that we have a God in Christ who is running after us, whether we like it or not!

So, for Lent, I wish me and you and every person to relax with God. He already wants to be our friend. Just let that miracle sit with you for 40 days.

Psalm 51:1-17
Joel 2:1, 12-17
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21