Two days from now I'll be reading and singing and praying with my brothers and sisters, then lining up with them, slowly moving toward the front of the sanctuary where a fellow human will look each of us in the eye and mark a cross of ash on each forehead, reminding us that we are dust. Loved dust.
As we begin once more this journey with Jesus toward the cross, I find myself drawn back to words that I prayed several years ago. They are still my prayer:
Jesus, as we prepare to enter Lent this week, my mind wanders back to St. Anselm who wrote a theology text and then rewrote the whole thing as prayer; it had seemed to him all wrong to talk about you as though you weren’t right there listening to the conversation, initiating it, allowing us to know you at all.
You are one who stands at the threshold, calling us into this journey with you.
You are the one who invites us to come closer, to lay our head on your chest, our ear pressed up tight against the deep lub-dub of your heartbeat.
You are the one in whom our journey ends.
We speak of Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday as though we know the whole story. We know it only a little bit. We need to know it again, to live it more deeply, to walk through it hand in hand with you. We need you to point out the details and show us how our stories mingle with and flow from yours.
Teach us, we pray, what it means to be human.
Shape in us your heart’s love-beat.
Satisfy our longing, and help us long more deeply still.
Mighty God made one of us, love us closer to you as we walk these weeks together toward death and then on through death into life that can never be broken.
Taking it further: For some wonderfully practical thoughts on how to cooperate with God as He uses this season of Lent to help shape in us His heartbeat of love, check out Kasey Kimball's article, Freedom to Love: The Heart of Lent.