Thursday After Ash Wednesday
The fanfare of Ash Wednesday is over; today we take up the daily work of Lent. The psalm for today gives us an image of life and hope. A person grounded in God is "like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade" (Ps 1:3).
This year, Lent begins close to the date for Tu B'Shvat, the Jewish celebration of the new year for trees. Faithful Jews observe the holiday by planting trees, eating tree fruits, and reflecting on the virtues of trees. What can we learn from trees in this late winter season?
Like trees about to break their winter dormancy, Lent is a time when new life is stirring beneath the surface. Lent can feel barren and hard, but changes are happening that will prepare us for the springtime of Easter and the abundant life God desires for us. And like trees, we need to sink our roots into God. The traditional lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving help us to tap into the deep springs of God's life.
What we are aiming at is conversion -- growing into a community of justice, peace, wholeness, gratitude, love and joy. The work of Lent is to nourish and prune, to prepare for the full flowering of God's people.
Dr. Cara Anthony
Associate Professor of Theology