Ash Wednesday, February 14 — Seek — Isaiah 58:1-2

“Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways!” 
    The Lenten journey is long and arduous but worth every bit of struggle. Lent originated as a fast for people who were preparing for baptism. Often, they had just spent 3 years learning about the Christian tradition. They learned how to pray, the stories of the Bible, how to live, and so much more. During the final 40 days before their baptism, the official marker of their entrance into this new way of life, they would fast and reflect on the ways in which their lives reflected (or didn’t) the way of Jesus Christ. Then, they would be baptized on Resurrection Sunday and truly experience new life.
    They would spend time repenting for the ways they had strayed from The Way. Repentance is certainly a central theme in Lent. But they did not repent just for the sake of repenting. They repented because it was a part of the larger process of seeking God. These forty days of reflection showed their devotion to Christ and the new life he offered. They reflected upon the identities they are given by God at their birth and reaffirmed at baptism: beloved children. They were seeking a God of grace who promised new beginnings. 
    It is easy in our world, just as it was in theirs, to get sidetracked and distracted from seeking God. We can easily get caught up in our identities given to us by the world. What would it look like for you to become enveloped by the identity given to you by God? What would it look like for you to seek a new beginning with God on this journey? What do you need to do so that you can experience new life on Resurrection Sunday? 

God of Grace, you call us beloved children but we tend to stray from that identity. Challenge us to reclaim the identity you give us. Help us to seek you and the calling you have for us rather than the seductive forces that surround us. Stir our hearts so that we will engage in the difficult process of reflection and repentance during this Lenten journey so that we may rediscover your power to offer new life. Amen.