Welcome to Ash Sunday!
Seeing that most things have been turned on their heads and heels this past year, now it is our traditional Ash Wednesday – not celebrated in Victoria this year.
Wednesday is really not important…but ashes are; and the call of the season is symbolised by our positive participation in the liturgy and reception of the ashes.
“The time has come,” says Mark. We, in Victoria, felt that as we emerged from our third lockdown; some experienced the reality of boredom, of panic, of fear, of loneliness, of deep concern about the future. Many in Israel felt the same in their longing for the Promised One, the Saviour, the Messiah. All had mixed emotions and hopes. Some awaited a great deliverer from the oppressive yoke of the Romans, not unlike the hopes in Myanmar at this moment. Others, with a little more biblical knowledge, awaited the one who was coming to settle accounts, to pass judgement and to punish sinners, particularly those sinners identified by the leading hands in the community.
We have a taste of that position today and not only in Canberra.
Surprise, surprise. The messenger of the God of Surprises had another surprise:
“The time has come,
The kingdom of God is close at hand.
and believe the Good News.”
They, and perhaps we too after 2000 years, were not expecting that!
So, what is meant by “the kingdom of God, repent…and Good News”?
Mark endeavours to unleash his inspired understanding of these statements in his work; we are asked to revisit these words during our Lenten journey.
Start today. Ashes may help. Time in the wilderness could be useful, allow the angels to look after you and, if all that fails this week, “What love-mischief can we, can I, do for the world today?”