I am starting this year’s Lenten Journey at the beginning. Or at the least a beginning. In this beginning was the Word. The Word that was God. And the Word that was With God. The Word spoken by God. The Word that gave birth to order from chaos. The Word that gathered together energy from across the universe to set entropy on its ear, for a time anyway, in this particular pocket of space that humanity now calls home.
In a universe where the natural state, the normal state, the easy path, is ever greater chaos, something in the human spirit recognizes the quiet beauty of order, of symmetry; of shapes that become letters and letters that become words and words that become A Midsummer Night’s Dream; of Fibonacci numbers and the quadratic equation; of the musical resonance of the laughter of a child and the perfection embodied in a cold slice of juicy watermelon on a hot summer’s day. These speak of a God who relishes the caesura, who parts the turbulent seas to create that momentary stay against confusion.
Don’t get me wrong. Chaos edges in. Threatening. Encroaching. Oozing. Yet, it is the very nature of redemption that pushes back with one whispered syllable of love at a time.
On this day where we receive ashes on our foreheads and are reminded that from the earth we have come and to the earth we will return, our place in this universe in clear. We are humans. Called into being from the chaos. Fashioned from the primordial clay and slip of organic elements. We are Adam from Adama, human from humus, Dirt People from Dirt. We are the words spoken by the Word.
And then the Word became flesh. And Flesh became light.
And through this Word, dirt becomes flesh; flesh becomes light.
Today, and every day, that journey begins anew. In this Word, we are a new creation!
The ashes we receive today are made in the sign of the cross, tracing over the mark we each received in baptism. Water, oil, ashes, dirt…and from them God brings forth light. Light in each of us. Light that guides us on our path through the wilderness, through the chaos.
Let your light so shine before others that they see your good works and glorify your father in heaven. Let the journey begin.