Today is Ash Wednesday and with it we begin our Lenten season. Lent has become more linked with giving something up, but self-deprivation in my mind diminishes its importance. Lent is a time to concentrate on a practice of discipline and to become aware of the choices (more than just food and drink) that separate us from God. This practice of discipline is why I think the Lenten season is a time for people of all faiths to practice its basic tenants of discipline, meditation, prayer, and service.
The word discipline and disciple both originate from the Latin roots that speak of teaching and pupils. Jesus taught that discipleship requires commitment, sacrifice, and determination to turn the world toward God. We are called to spend the season of Lent learning how to serve God intentionally, faithfully, and joyfully. We are not meant to be long-distance observers of life. So on this day of beginnings give some thought to your call to give of yourself to the shaping of the world, however difficult that may be. It will take discipline because for our faith to grow into something meaningful, not just false piety, we will endure some discomfort, enough discomfort that it will make us want to do something about it.
Editors note: Again I invite you all to contribute your comments. We are all in this together. W.