Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent. Lent originates from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting. The practice includes the wearing of ashes on the head or hand. Ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. The history and beginnings of Lent aren’t exactly clear but according to Britannica.com, Lent has likely been observed “since apostolic times, though the practice was not formalized until the First Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E.” Christian scholars note that Lent became more regularized after the legalization of Christianity in A.D. 313. St. Irenaeus, Pope St. Victor I, and St. Athanasius all seem to have written about Lent during their ministries. Most agree that “by the end of the fourth century, the 40-day period of Easter preparation known as Lent existed.”
I do like the quietness that Lent affords and after hours of sitting in my chair, the notion of blessing emerged as a theme for our journey in Lent.  One of the Wismers (the good one – you choose) remembered a quote from Walter Brueggemann who once wrote that “a blessing is an act, gesture or word whereby one person transmits the power of life to another.”  Giving power to live life as God fully intends is indeed a blessing. In The Book of Gratitudes: An Encounter Between Life and Faith a wisdom story is told about a man traveling through the desert.  He was hungry, thirsty and tired when he found a tree that provided abundant shade, delicious fruit, and a spring ran under it. The man ate of the fruit, drank of the water and rested in the shade. When he was ready to resume his journey he turned toward the tree and said, “Tree, how shall I bless you? Shall I bless you with sweet fruit? Your fruit is already sweet. Shall I bless you with abundant shade? Your shade is already abundant. Shall I ask for a spring to run under you?  A spring is already running under you. There is one thing with which I can bless you: May it be God’s will for all the trees that come from your seed to be like you.”

Scripture Reading: Proverbs 16:20
“Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.”

Reflection Questions:
What blessings are you sharing?
How are you transmitting life giving power to others?
Who helped you become you?

Prayer: Holy God, may it be for me this day that I remember those who helped me become me and let me share myself with another that they may be enriched and live abundantly in your presence. Amen.

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