20140305-210651.jpgGrowing up lent was marked out by the presence of fish on Friday and the giving up of things. It seemed all stick and no carrot.

Good thing I liked salmon and tuna.

For a few years, my evangelical self shunned all things lent as unnecessary to my faith – it was all browbeating and no grace I piously thought. My arrogance was part naïveté and part bluster.

But over the last few years, lent has again found a place in my life.

Lent reminds us of two truths: That we are loved, cherished, and valued by a loving creator. The other truth is that being holy can be difficult for human beings, but that the daily desire for holiness and the journey towards easter and the cross is worth reflection and a season of examination, action, and the acknowledgement of the necessity and sufficiency of grace.

To love god with our entire being and to love our neighbour – those are the ends of humankind. The act of confession becomes essential because we often put our own needs ahead of those of our loved ones and neighbours. We are simultaneously saints and sinners – always, At least this side of heaven.

The thunder rolls around – atmospheric as we sit together listening, praying, reflecting on the love of God and on ashes…those burnt offerings.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God;
And renew a right spirit within me” (ps 51:10)

“You that desire truth in the inward parts: O teach me wisdom in the secret places of the heart.” (Ps 51:6)

God’s grace active, ever active.

So we receive the ashes.

We prepare by repentance and fasting: that we might grow on faith and devotion that we might increasingly be aware of grace.

What is it that we focus for our time on the flaw and deep messiness of our hearts and souls, and seek redemption in the overflowing love of Christ? These things of yours are not for me to know. I do not need to know. These things of mine confront me in ways I don’t want to face let alone write about for an audience.

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Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.

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Anna Blanch_Gill Gamble_blogAnna Blanch Rabe is an Australian-born writer and photographer. You can follow her adventures on Not A Pedestrian Life, or Facebook. More of her photography can be viewed here. For more domestic things take a look at Quotidian Home or her previous website, Goannatree.

Anna Blanch Rabe
anna@annablanchrabe.com
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