A Reflection for Ash Wednesday
That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is still time. Give me your hearts; come with fasting, weeping and mourning.”
- Joel 2:12 (NLT)
For some of us, the word “repent” might carry hints of guilt or shame. We think about repenting of our sins, and we feel ashamed of the many ways we have gone astray. The Greek word for “repent,” however, offers us another definition. In the New Testament, to “repent” – metanoia – means “to turn around” or “to turn back toward.” In other words, to repent means we change the direction of our hearts and minds, turning away from sin and toward our loving God.
So often we find ourselves putting off our relationship with God. Distracted by our endless responsibilities and the demands of our everyday lives, we tell ourselves we will connect with God later, when we have more time to fully commit to Him. But too often the time we hope for does not magically present itself, and our busyness pushes God into the margins of our lives.
As we enter these six weeks of Lent, a time of repentance and renewal, let us listen to God’s words in these verses from the Book of Joel: “Turn to me now, while there is still time.” God reminds us that there is no time like the present moment to turn back toward Him. The time to turn toward God is now – not tomorrow, not “someday” – but today.
Let us make a commitment to dedicate these six Lenten weeks to God. It need not be complicated or even very time-consuming. Let us make a simple commitment to repent – to allow our hearts and our minds to return to the Lord.
Gracious God, as I begin this Lenten journey, please give me the focus and fortitude I need to commit my heart and mind to you in a new way. Amen.