Several months ago, I stumbled upon a piece of art by a cartoonist named David Hayward called "Narrow Way." He wanted to convey the difficult struggle of following Jesus in the world today. I found the piece interesting and thought provoking.
As I sat down to plan our Lenten Worship series, I was drawn back to this image. I decided to use the lectionary texts, a guide that many churches all over the world use in their worship services, to create a series called "The Narrow Way: Finding freedom from that which enslaves us." Each week we will use scripture stories to discuss the many ways in which we struggle to follow the Gospel news of Jesus Christ.
Lent begins on March 1st on a day we call Ash Wednesday. It is the day in which we impose ashes on our foreheads. Historically, the ashes are used from the palm branches from the year before when we celebrated Palm Sunday. As a reminder, that is the day the crowd cheered as Jesus came down from the Mount of Olives into the city of Jerusalem. A few days later, nearly the same crowd shouted "Crucify Him!" What a fickle group of people we can be. So when the palm branches are burned and the ashes are placed on our forehead, it is an act of remembrance in which we participate. I hope that you will consider starting your Lenten journey with ashes, either imposed between 7am and 9am in our parking lot or later at 7pm during our Ash Wednesday service. I hope that as we begin and continue through Lent, we can see all the ways in which we are called to grow in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ and with each other.